Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Fixing our eyes on the distant Horizon...

I must be in a bad way; last night I watched a repeated Horizon on BBC4 about, er, what happened before the Big Bang. I've often wondered... Well no, to be honest, I haven't, but it was good to hear about the Big Ideas the boffins are tossing around these days - sometimes tossing at each other with a degree of force and venom. Roland Penrose, who was Mr Big Bang for years and was happy to declare that there couldn't be a 'Before' because Time 'came into being' with the Big Bang, has done a commendable volte face and now has his own ideas on Before. So do a whole battalion of other megabrains, who speak of Inflation (which seems to be the big alternative to Big Bang), Multiverses, Black Holes, Swiss cheeses, Gravity Waves, things called 'Branes (i.e. membranes) that exist in ten-dimensional space, whatever the heck that is... Towards the end, the succession of frankly geeky males was broken by the welcome surprise of a rather glamorous and exotic lady Prof who'd had a Eureka moment over a cup of coffee. It involved String Theory and the Universe being a Wave, and for some reason it seemed to mean that there needn't be a Before. I think.
  Okay, so what is all this about? Is it looking for something 'before Time' - surely a logical contradiction, as without Time there can't be a Before? Or is it a matter of pushing back yet further
the really big question - how does Something emerge from Nothing? Do any of these new ideas actually answer that? Can the question ever be answered in terms of Space-Time reality? Doesn't it ultimately belong somewhere else? Perhaps it loses some of its difficulty if we acknowledge the existence (hardly the word, but what can you do?) of a timeless world - a world such as we sometimes subjectively and intuitively know, and which, after all, we inhabit for a large part of our lives, 'Returning each morning from a timeless world', as Auden puts it. Incidentally, for those exercised by the question of whether God exists, this acknowledgment would, in a way, settle the matter:  'Dieu n'existe pas, Il est eternel.' I think that was Francois Mauriac. I'm sure he wasn't thinking about what happened before the Big Bang.

8 comments:

  1. What irks most with the geek contingent is the licence they grant themselves to adopt the smartarse demeanour and to address the rest of us as though we are drooling idiots. All because they consider themselves privy to secret and conclusive knowledge beyond the rest of us. Auden has much to say on this community as in his "On Glancing into a Child's Guide to Modern Physics' and 'Ode to Terminus'.

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  2. When I was a very young child, these questions kept me awake, and my poor mother desperately challenging in trying to cook up some answers for me. Her best, and it worked, was that fish cannot have any conception of life out of water, and the answers (if there are any ) to these questions are out of the human realm. We are fish out of water. Dead.

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  3. Am I imagining it or doesn't Beckett have a line somewhere to the effect: so what exactly was God doing with himself before he created the Universe?

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  4. In The Goldilocks Enigma, distinguished physicist Paul Davies offers an accessible rundown of the various theories of the origins of the universe that theoretical physics has come up with in modern times, and also some biting insights into the psychology that drives many of their proponents. He specifically identifies the desperate aversion to anything that smacks of purpose or teleology and the strange, even wacky, places this aversion can drive them. The paradox for many is that, in their attempts to posit a "natural" origin that is purposeless and the product of natural laws and processes, they are driven to strange worlds where all natural laws break down and the wildest scenarios are possible. Thus does science unravel. The multiverse is the prime example, although things like "self-replicating universes" come in a close second. They may be defiantly proud scientists, but they seem to be straddling the border with sci-fi.

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  5. Now for what weren't right about this dub, firstly the fake accents. The worse culprit is from Jessica Schwartz (Iris) and Boni Hester (Kohran). Catherine Berry's (Maria) was alright, but it feels like it's not really part of Maria's character (too much Urara Takano). It's just disappointing that Monster Island still retains those accents. Lucky Orihime didn't get hit with a cheesy Italian accent. Second, the odd directing. At times while I was watching the dub it seems that the ADR director got confuse at certain scenes or that he makes the characters seem out of character, Orihime is a good example. Third, this might sounds weird, but the hell?!!! Something's just not right with Kaede. Too youthful, just waaayyy too youthful.

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