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At first, “Who Ordered This?” sounded pretty much like a self-indulgent riff into chicanery. However, that hat was soon resolved for me by Mario Livio’s describing a “mixture of discovery and invention.”
While Mathematics is only our coherent, structured, syntax of expressions about perceived experiences and relationships—both religion and science can perpetrate (and could perpetuate) some certain “homo ludens” activities--detours during intermission/intervals of respite from “Major Events.” Does God Play Dice? Well, we ourselves have been known to do so, on occasion. So that should tell us something about reality, at least! Who isn’t hoping to get by—and perhaps too often—by the skin of our teeth?
By comparison, looking closely at the wonder of Language to describe our perceived and reflective experiences of relationships in the known universe--is pretty much beholding a miraculous phenomenon, too. Both Mathematics and Language are communication tools which depend upon repeatable patterns as means to impart meaning. The universe consists of periodic activities; yet these provide the fundamental basis for all sharing. Include also our recurring experiences of dream narrative, story, fable, parable, and festive holiday observances, as well as the traditional rivalries of athletic competitions.
These renderings can be physical, mental, emotional, intuitive constructs (C.G. Jung’s model), and are readily extended to Useful, and/or Ritual, representations: “Macy-Day Balloons,” Fourier or Laplace Transforms, sculptures and architectures, performances like drama, poetry, ballet, Beethoven’s Eroica Symphony, and the Eucharistic Banquet manifested at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
“Meaning” is inherent within patterns of repetition: the rhythm of beating hearts re-echo the different “vocabularies” in frequencies of light, or sound, or the tides, or the seasons; so the music of the spheres itself wants to dance a rhapsody with all who swim through the firmament. The Universe contains universes: a Master Set of Mandelbrot Fractal Patterns, singing from Macrocosm to Microcosm.
Perhaps it could be said that these innumerable vessels of meaning are kissed with an aura of profound simplicity, or of the divine, or of both. One man’s awe is another man’s charade, or another’s daily bread: As Oliver Twist said of his pablum/gruel, “Please, sir, may I have some more?”
Saul Steinberg’s famous cover illustration for the 29 March 1976 NEW YORKER could be understood as a benignly smiling Voltairian refutation of Galileo’s great premise (with an unintended, but still satirical, vindication for the parochial Inquisition’s chicanery?). Ah, the levels of irony are like the rungs on Jacob’s ladder! However, Steinberg’s subtle reprieve proved to be comparatively short-lived, for as we’ve learned in the last two years, the Real Center of the Known Universe is not Ninth Avenue and 43rd St, Manhattan—but Capitol Hill and K Street, Washington, DC!
Everyone still knows the sun comes up in the East and goes down in the West! However, not everyone wants to step up to the implications, and our responsibilities, of being at The Center of Hope for Existence as we know it. Any other possibility seems far removed by light years across the “empty” “darkness” (if we only knew!) The global Climate Negotiations in Durban, South Africa this week, prompts us “to consider too curiously to consider so.”
Is the Universe really expanding—or is our current knowledge base just the consequence of our present abilities to observe light? Could the Red Shit be a result of gravitational acceleration force, distending the wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation coming toward us, and so presenting us with a cumulative “retarding” effect, which prolongs each individual pulse—thus reducing the overall frequency rate within each pulse-series? (If we only knew!)
Perhaps this personal riff is tending toward chicanery.
We are only such stuff as dreams are made on….
- Ralph Palasek, Arlington Virginia