Saturday, January 08, 2005

Black Holes: Ashes, Ashes, All Fall Down

Whatever we see we see because of light: an octave within the electro-magnetic spectrum. Whatever we think we think by organo-electrical impulses running around our nervous systems: processes employing the electro-magnetic spectrum. Photons jump around the universe, electrons jump around the wetware.

We used to think that if it was there, we could see it. Then we decided that light velocity was finite: maybe some things were too far away to see. Ah, thought I once upon a time, we can still think it. Light was finite; thought was instantaneous -- I thought. No, no, the wetware is slow. Maybe some things are too far away to think.

Some gravity theorists decided to think that maybe there were some things we couldn't see because they were too massive for light to escape. Photons had to have some teeny bit of mass.

Isn't that great? What happens when an irresistible force meets an irresistible object? Light is so fast, light goes anywhere! Yeah, well what if it doesn't? Physics! Fabulous. It's as neat as theology ever was. If one thing is irresistible, then the other thing can't be. Or maybe neither can be. ? There we go again, thinking impossible things: nonsense. Well, what else do we have to do with all these thoughts? all this time?

Original Think/Sinners. Maybe not so original after all.

Black holes have stimulated some of the best contemporary thinking. Think of something you can't see, have no experience with, can't have any experience with, then think about it. Beautiful.

Actually, I think humans have a great deal of experience with black holes. Light goes in, light can't get out.

President Johnson asks everybody what we should do in Vietnam if we don't think we should kill everybody. What should we do instead? Out of millions, dozens, maybe hundreds tell him. (Fools! Don't use your real name, invent a return address!) Thoughts go into the White House, thoughts never leave the White House. I mean lots of thoughts go into the White House, only certain thoughts leave the White House.

Oh, goody. Let's all think about God. The Church tells us to. All sorts of thoughts go into the Church; only certain thoughts leave the Church. Light leaves the Church: showing piles of thinkers burning.

Think! says the school. (Don't use your real name!) (Unfortunately, they already know your real name: the municipality stole your name from your parents at birth (that's why you had to be born in a hospital!), gave your name to the school, gave it to the draft board ...) (What a joke! how would the school know if a student thought? Communication would have to be possible first: I don't mean from the industrialist to the school board member, from the school board member to the principal, from the principal to the student; I mean from the student to the teacher, from Van Gogh to the Academy ...)

All sorts of thoughts, thoughts going every which way, go into the school. Remarkable! Only certain thoughts, all lined up and goose-stepping, come out of the school. Light comes out of the school: shaded, dimmed, distracted from, but it comes: people in detention, people in straightjackets, people in comas -- pumped with drugs. Ashes, ashes.

All fall down.

I've duplicated this piece in's Society section.

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