Every so often theoretical physics (TP) is visited by an idea that shakes its tail on a tree branch and causes a majority of TPers in that field to rush to the tree and yap excitedly at its base.
Bad dog! Heel!
So, yeah, great title, and great first sentence, but this is ground that I’ve covered in this blog – repeatedly. Indeed, it is ground upon which I first trod in my publications some 40 years ago. My original thought, for this blog installment, after deciding on that excellent title, Paradigms Lost, was to softly chide the pack of people known as theoretical physicists for chasing wildly after each and every brilliant new idea as though more of the same will surely lead to … to … to more good stuff. But chiding, whether soft or hard, has never, and will never, achieve its desired intent. You can’t stop a runaway locomotive with a stick.
My repetitive behavior reminds me of Joey in the movie Hackers.
• 00:43:51 Hi, my name’s Vicki and I’m an addict.
• 00:43:55 Hi. My name’s Hank and I’m an addict.
• 00:44:00 My name’s Joey, but…
• 00:44:03 I’m not an addict.
• 00:44:05 No, really. Listen.
• 00:44:06 I got in trouble with my computer.
• 00:44:08 My lawyer told the judge I’m an addict, but I’m not addicted to my computer.
• 00:44:12 No, really.
• 00:44:14 I’m not an addict.
• 00:44:15 I’m not.
• 00:44:18 Can I get some more coffee?
Grandpa’s here! Hide!
However, it’s about more than simple addiction; it’s also about aging. In principle growing old is not bad, although it will require help from a plethora of medical professionals for me to go very much further down this track. But getting older is not all cupcakes and buttercups. Well, it can be, if everyday you decide that today would be a great day to introduce cupcakes and buttercups into your life, largely forgetting that you did that same thing the day before, and the day before that. Not that cupcakes and buttercups are bad, per se, as an idée fixe – one could do worse – but one’s thoughts do tend to drift into repetition, as originality fades. I can see myself (d)evolving into that embarrassing grandparent who exhorts his grandchildren at each family gathering to pull his finger. Not that flatulence isn’t an eternally excellent source of humor; it is. And not that I actually have grandchildren; I don’t. I’ve consulted medical texts and it seems that a prerequisite for having grandchildren is to first have children. I have none of those either. But I digress; or do I?
You know, in 2014 my Seeable Matter; Unseeable Antimatter paper was published, in which it was demonstrated that division algebra mathematics, a la G M Dixon, implies that our universe is dominated by matter because antimatter has its own 4-d universe, and the two are linked by blah blah blah. But recently Researchgate notified me that a paper I published in 1989 (nine years after Quanta Magazine suggested I had given up on theoretical physics entirely) had reached 200 reads. A modest achievement, admittedly, but it prompted me to look at that paper. And what should I discover but that 31 years ago, at a minimum, and 25 years before my 2014 paper, I was already pointing out that … that … you know; what I said above. And although the 2014 paper is easily the most mathematically clean, still, I think I’d like to make a radical change and have cupcakes and buttercups today.
So, here I am bemoaning the repetitive nature of my blogging, and my life, and simultaneously … have I bemoaned the repetitive nature of my blogging in previous blogs? I think I have! Old published ideas tend to sink beneath the ocean of consciousness, then bubble up from the depths at some later time in the guise of originality.
The cure, as I see it, and have seen it, is to cease dwelling on the shortcomings inherent in the practice of theoretical physics, and to spend more time immersing myself, and both of my readers, in discussions of matters outside of science altogether. I see I’ve already done Star Wars, Game of Thrones, and Girls’ Last Tour … must-resist-desire-to-discuss-them-again … resistance is exhausting. I could do Paris; or flatulence; but I recently did a combination of Paris and flatulence, so that’s out. Think. Think!
I’ll get back to you. Not like I have any choice in the matter; writing has always been a compulsion of mine. I mean, after retiring I wrote five books. I’d have written more, but blogging … so much more immediate … and the past such a rich source of material.
Get off my lawn, ye young skallywags; and you too, ye blighted whippersnappers.