The Pleasure of Knowing It Already

After having posted the previous post on facebook, one of my facebook friends responded as follows:

“Why do you post such material here rather than send it to a professional physicist or else get it published in a physics journal? I mean, posting it here is fine. But why do this INSTEAD?”

To which I responded, “You always pin point the problem. 🙂. Your well-formulated questions always demand thoughtful answers. So I will addressf your questions in order concerning why I post this kind of material on facebook [and for the same reasons to my posts and scientific articles on this site] rather than attempting to get them accepted by the scientific establishment as follows:

“You have asked directly and others must question, why I would post material on facebook [or to this site] for which none of my forty some odd friends have any interest at all. It must seem irrational from your perspectives but it doesn’t from mine because I use facebook [and this blog] differently than most, albeit as facebook claims as its mission, i. e., it asks, ‘What’s on your (meaning ‘my’) mind?’ So that’s how I use it. I have been told that facebook is more properly used for photos of weddings and to say ‘Happy Birthday’. Well, I’m sorry, that is not how Mark Zuckerberg encouraged me to use it. And no, I don’t give a damn about what Mark Zuckerberg wants. I just think its a good idea to document one’s thoughts, but not just to blather out whatever foolish thing crosses one’s mind, which is what usually is on my mind and I assume most of yours as well. I find that I really don’t have an opinion worth stating until I’ve stated it. I post the thoughts that I consider to have some merit and if anyone happens to find them interesting and wishes to debate them, that’s all the better. I’m not into posting other people’s thoughts because… well, I don’t know what their thoughts are and their stated opinions may just be out there to imply something other than what I warrant to pass on.

“My granddaughter tells me that no one under the age of 55 is on facebook anymore and she probably has some data to back that up. My son thinks that by being on facebook, I’m somehow being brainwashed by the corruption of our society and there’s a point to that too I suppose. I do pass on the occasional meme that I happen to think is particularly cute or thought provoking, but I have learned to resist passing on inanities or cute photos that some unknown person posted in some blogosphere somewhere that does not have thought inducing meaning to me. That is not to say that much of my posts are anything other than inanities or images unworthy of becoming viruses. I have also come to resist posting my political opinions however intensely I feel them and however much I wish everyone had fact checked the crap they put on facebook and that they wouldn’t forward Vladimir Putin’s or corporate America’s latest desire for the future of our democracy. But I try to ignore them if they do. I tend to avoid ‘friends’ whose political posts offend my sensitivities. And, yes, I know that all this is that much more of my thoughts that you really didn’t want to hear. So… de-friend me… but don’t cut off your fingers on my account. 🙂

“To be more specific, why do I post my ideas about physics and cosmology? I don’t think the reason has anything to do with expectations of impressing you all… although I’m not positive of that. My posts pertain to my obsessions but without many equations, programs, or nipples. Everyone who addresses the issue comes to a different conclusion with regard to the meaning to life: ‘Why am I here?’ if you are religious or ‘What shall I do with my short life?’ if one isn’t. If you’re religious it’s easy, ‘”‘Love God and fear his commandments for that is the whole duty of man!'”‘ as stated clearly in the Bible, whether he damns you to hell for it or not. It’s easy for me to say and logically straightforward although no doubt rather difficult for modern humans. But I’m not religious so the question is more subtle, more or less demanding an answer associated with actions necessarily following the words.

I have never gotten over the shock once I became aware that I’m stuck on this planet in the middle of a stellar system in the middle of a galaxy in the middle of a local group of galaxies in a larger galaxy cluster that is only one of trillions if not an infinite number. So my situation in the middle of what, as far as telescopes and applications of the scientific method can tell, seems to be the norm everywhere for quarks, atoms, molecules, and (one must certainly suppose) life forms in our universe. Our situation is more or less like a person waking up in a cell with a piece of chalk. What the hell are you going to do with it? Making a mark every time light seeps in through a crack in one’s cell or maybe drawing some cave paintings? One might as well take the dimensions of this cell and try to figure out what it’s made of. So my answer to the ‘What is the meaning of life?’ question is that I want to figure out “What the hell is this universe thing all about?”

That’s the short answer.

“But to elaborate further, I spend much of the time and brain power I have left working on pretty difficult problems with regard to how this universe of our works. I see this effort as analogous to climbing the steep face of a cliff with very few footholds. I find that writing a few paragraphs after having worked one’s way through some complex logic is like inserting a cam in the side of the cliff to hold the rope so that even if one slips up on the next step in the long sequence of working one’s way up the cliff, one won’t have to work through that logic again.

But each little achievement (and I do think they are achievements) gets one only a small way up the cliff. When one challenges time-honored notions, their protectors are everywhere. Even when ChatGPT discusses an issue with me or helps me program something to do with redshift it cannot resist inserting a standard model diatribe of assumptions that I must extricate — that there could be redshift without expansion is so anathema to the scientific community that it is virtually inconceivable to them. So to introduce an alternative but completely logical argument into a discussion with regard to experimental data, one has to re-litigate the entire sequence of the alternative as a context for each next step in a scientific explanation with anyone — especially members of establishment. Kuhn’s discussion of the difficulties encountered when introducing a paradigm shift is understated. So I leave that difficulty for someone else when enough failures of the previous paradigm have brought it to its knees. I flatter myself that what is good about my thinking will be rediscovered by someone else sometime. In the meantime I have the pleasure of knowing it already.

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