By William Markiewicz
I'm neither mathematician nor physicist, I'm just curious... Scientists, blast me if you please, but, being in the right or wrong, it's still fun for me.
I don't remember which scholar said that in the universe of quanta, mathematics and physics are seemingly insufficient; what's needed is... poetry! What does this mean? We don't find formulas for poetry, but perhaps we come close while advancing into dimensions where the familiar notions (gravity = Earth, temperature = Fire, atmosphere = Air, solubility = Water) do not reign. That's how Alice started her journey into her own enchanted universe and poetry was what distinguished it from nonsense.
Einstein didn't dissect matter into quanta but looked into new formulas for the known universe. He was mostly interested in the energies while the quantists dig into the minuscule for a universe where 'matter' and 'energy' become something else, where only mathematics supported by 'poetry' is at their disposal.
Any mathematician can theoretically travel into all sizes and dimensions with his calculations. Numbers inform us that infinite increase and reduction are valid notions. But to look for what happens 'there' is the job of relativists, quantists and... poets.
In the tridimensional universe sensorially and mentally accessible to us, analogies between various levels are evident; we can accept the atomic system as a minimodel for the planetary system. If science-fiction can speculate about the possibility of atoms being, in effect, planetary systems and molecules being equivalent to galaxies, science can't confirm or deny it, it's simply out of its range of interests. It would be even more meaningless to speculate that our atomic systems may have their own atomic systems which, in their turn, may be planetary systems for even smaller atomic systems, and so on infinitely. Was it Gargantua of Rabelais who, going into the infinitely small, found that universe the same as ours? While mathematical comparisons and exotic imaginary travels have their merit they don't pretend to take us into the universe of quanta whose infinitesimal particles/energies are affecting our Newtonian tridimensional world. What would be the equivalent of powers coming from sub-atomic levels if we could enlarge them to our proportions and materialize them? Comets? The difference between matter and energy is quantitative; philosophically at all levels everything is analogue, a matter of proportions only.
We can apply this thinking in the opposite direction as well; we may be part of a mega (for us) atomic system and our galaxy part of a mega molecule in some mega universe. As a kid I liked to imagine that despite all the importance we accord ourselves we might be a part of an atom situated in the hair of the tail of some mega-dog. I still like the idea. What determines the abyss separating entities, where is the 'frontier' at which masses become molecules, molecules -- atoms, and atoms -- particles, and at which point does the division stop at the ultimon? Probably never.
Every day we make the journey into the domain of quanta even if we cannot perceive it. For example when we drive a car, the axes of its turning wheels mathematically remain still, at some infinitesimal level. Each movement is the sum of immobilities. When does 'one' become 'another' at an infinitesimal level which we all execute yet cannot grasp? I think it was Dumas's Porthos who was killed because instead of running away from his enemies, he got wrapped up in the question: 'how do we run?'
Also psychism, from psychosomatics and instincts to awareness, from feelings to intellect, doesn't bring anything specifically new to life, only a 'confirmation' of what exists at the basic levels of life. The real novelties are the complexity in social structures and creativity; they have no equivalent in nature.Back to the index of the Vagabond