This morning I did the usual very brief scan of the headlines of both local and remote media. This exercise makes me long for the days when radio waves were less used and the internet was something my mother did not know anything about while I was using it to arrange my affairs. On a side note, do recall that I like the word affair. So, let us get back to the bit of public affairs that got me in a bad mood after a delightful morning at the keyboard composing the challenges of my latest love, the character in a novel. It is this gem in the New York Times on the new war between science versus religion.
I had the opportunity to attend three lecture-presentations by Frank Wilczek recently, and if ever you are near such an opportunity, go for it. He has enough of a website and media presence that it is sort of besides the point to hyperlink to any of it; and yes, of course, he is on Wikipedia. However besides his discussion of Majorana fermions and supersymmetry (SUSY), what struck me were the side remarks about problems, and our ability to solve them. Certainly our understanding of matter at a fundamental level has come a long ways and all the easy problems have been solved. What remains are problems that are rather complex, and that may or may not be amiable to solutions or scrutiny. The art in our continued exploration of the fundamental nature of matter is then in finding questions or problems for which we can reasonably hope to find solutions with the available tools. Indeed, in my view there is no scarcity of complex problems that challenge us with questions for which we can provide no answers.
On a personal note, life is as boring as ever. You all know that I can not lie. Some have seen me lose it on stage, however a few directors here and there have admired my acting capabilities and the amount of control that I bring to my mimic. That said, let me get back to Theoretical Man. What is reality?
For the past year I have been busy learning and writing. I have gone back to one interest that like a stone on my path, I picked up many years ago and have kept in my pocket: the interface and interaction between science and law. First I put in my toe, that was about a year ago, then I wrote a couple of papers on my own, co-authored others, and been looking at this whole affair between technology and humans from the normative side. Those curious about what I write will be disappointed to find out that from the papers of the past year only one is publicly available.
Abundance and redundancy is a chapter that I am working on now. I have been looking and taking a bird’s eye view of the thinking that some economist bring to the table, and sometimes I want to throw up when I hear or read some of the nonsense. As a side remark, besides lawyers, some of my best friends are economists, so this is not a personal thing. I tend to always return to familiar ground, that is, quantum mechanics. What I am discovering is that when I first began to study quantum theory I was indoctrinated by a direct student of Niels Bohr and that has coloured my view of the field, or say, given my thinking a certain danish accent. That is, the approach was to calculate and shut up. I gave the philosophy behind the whole of the theory absolutely no thought, I did number crunching, and the answer was the answer. If theory predicted something that could be measured, we were all happy, if it did not, go back and play with the language of mathematics, and fix the freaking theory, and then recrunch the numbers, make it work. You had no idea that quantum mechanics was so brainless, did you? I still think that it is the most fun approach to trying to understand our universe, play with the theory, validate the prediction, reiterate. I am looking at quantum mechanics this time around, and I am feeling like Alice going down the rabbit hole. It is a fantastic world out there, it is all in my mind.
For those briefly familiar with physics, you must remember that Einstein and Bohr were good friends and they argued passionately, above all they disagreed about the nature of physics, and reality itself. This is the short version of what is a rather involved analysis in the philosophy of science. I am much more at home with Bohr’s view that physics is what can be said, and that what is, will for ever elude me. I am quite open to the possibility that indeed we do live in a world that is non-deterministic, at least contains some elements that are non-deterministic. But you know, these are heavy words that are more than pregnant with meaning. Now, given that with the experimental demonstration of entanglement, Einstein’s idea of objective local theories could be thrown out the door as not valid, Bohr’s views have been validated and continue to gain more and more currency.
I will publish a more developed argument that bridges this kind of thinking to legal theory on the website of the World Trade Institute and in the MILE alumni network that are due to be rolled out soon, and possibly cross-post it here.