Monday, August 01, 2005

Only Maybe

Only Maybe, "The general laws of nature are to be expressed by equations which hold good for all systems of co-ordinates, that is, are co-varient with respect to any substitutions whatever (generally co-varient) - Albert Einstein


Bogus Magus said...

I found this nice quote from Bob in an interview - about the Maybe thing:

Wilson: Well, in our language, er, there's a natural tendency built into the Indo-European family of languages to divide things into "either-ors," probably because we have two hands. Nobody realizes the influence on human philosophy -- up in the highest levels -- of the fact that 50,000 years ago children started playing the game of grabbing a rock, putting their hands behind their back, and then holding their hands out and saying, "Guess which hand I've got the rock in?" There's only two possible choices, there. It's gotta be in the right hand or the left hand. We've been so conditioned by that in the last 50,000 years that we think everything has a right and a left, or a true and a false. It's a terrible shock to us discover something which the Orient discovered 2,500 years ago, or more, which modern science has just discovered in this century; namely, that most of the universe consists of maybes. There are very few things that we can hammer down into definite yeses or nos.

You can reduce everything to yeses or nos if you're sitting in an armchair discussing abstract philosophy, but when you're dealing with the real world, it's very hard to force things into the yeses and the nos. The people who are very good at forcing them into yeses and nos are totalitarian governments, and they do it be shooting everybody who sees the maybes, or finding some other ways to shut them up: locking them up for life or something like that.

You'll find most religions that are based on the yes-no thing have a distinct tendency to go to war whenever they get the opportunity. Jonathan Swift said, "We've got enough religion to hate each other but not enough to love each other." The history of Christianity has been the history of continuous warfare over yeses and nos by people who can't conceive that the universe contains mostly maybes.

Bogus Magus said...

While I have got this thing rolling - New or Old or In-between visitors might enjoy some Bob texts in the online library - you will also find some key texts from some of our other favourite authors there. Sorry - you have to copy and paste - I haven't figured out links in Comments yet...


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