Mind-Blowing Quotations

Now, five days a week I get to view southern England, south Wales and northern France from between 2,500 ft and 10,000 ft. And it all looks incredibly small but beautiful and peaceful. I feel that I can see through the “fog” of human segregation and complexity and witness a sense of unity and simplicity.

However, the following quote from Scott Carpenter (he was an astronaut, not a Scottish artisan !) paints a better picture….

“This planet is not terra firma. It is a delicate flower and it must be cared for. It’s lonely. It’s small. It’s isolated, and there is no resupply.

And we are mistreating it.

Clearly, the highest loyalty we should have is not to our own country or our own religion or our own home town or even ourselves. It should be to number two, the family of man, and number one, the planet at large.

This is our home, and this is all we’ve got”

Peakman posted:

From a bit further away than even the international space station came the famous photograph of the earth as a Pale Blue Dot taken by Voyager 1.   Carl Sagan's memorable response to this photo is always worth rereading:   http://www.planetary.org/explo...h/pale-blue-dot.html

Roger

It is indeed.  For me the photo and Sagan's observations also lend some perspective for those who believe that we are alone in the universe. 

You might well be right Hook ! 

But given the small time window in which mankind has existed on Earth, and the possible small time window in which other life forms might have, or will, exist elsewhere, we might never meet ! And we might never know of each other’s existence!

To think that we are the only living planet with intelligent life forms spinning around in the vast cosmos is about as ridiculous as it gets. 

Wether we will ever cross paths with or even find evidence of other living planets past or present before this little planet of ours ceases to be able to support life is very, very doubtful. We are a dot and a blip like the blink of an eye and will be gone probably long before we are even noticed. 

For me this poem by John Donne (here in a modern-english version) summarises a lot of how I feel about humanity, and conflict in particular.

Bruce

No man is an island entire of itself; every man 
is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; 
if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe 
is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as 
well as any manner of thy friends or of thine 
own were; any man's death diminishes me, 
because I am involved in mankind. 
And therefore never send to know for whom 
the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.

THESE are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated. .......

from 'The Crisis' December 23, 1776 by Thomas Paine

Important words then as they are today...........

Don Atkinson posted:

Not entirely mind-blowing, but food for thought perhaps ?

Did we invent mathematics and physics to describe the Universe, or were the equations of maths and physics always out there, just waiting to be discovered ?

I saw that 3-instalment series on BBC4, Don. Thoroughly enjoyed it. 

MDS posted:
Don Atkinson posted:

Not entirely mind-blowing, but food for thought perhaps ?

Did we invent mathematics and physics to describe the Universe, or were the equations of maths and physics always out there, just waiting to be discovered ?

I saw that 3-instalment series on BBC4, Don. Thoroughly enjoyed it. 

Hi Mike,

I don't recall where I got my quote from, it might have been a book or it might have been a BBC4 documentary. But thank you for reminding me about BBC science documentaries, they are usually well worth the licence fee.

Now, my rambling in this post raises another, (to my mind) interesting question....

...."How are memories stored and retrieved in the brain ?"......and i'm pretty sure I read this in a book !

Don - the series was called "Magic Numbers: Hannah Fry's Mysterious World of Maths".  She is very good at speaking in a  (relatively) plain-English way about complex concepts: infinity, imaginary numbers etc, and she explores the very question you pose.

Mike 

MDS posted:
Don Atkinson posted:

Not entirely mind-blowing, but food for thought perhaps ?

Did we invent mathematics and physics to describe the Universe, or were the equations of maths and physics always out there, just waiting to be discovered ?

I saw that 3-instalment series on BBC4, Don. Thoroughly enjoyed it. 

The question should be.

Are the mathematics and physics used to describe the Universe 'pure invention'

MDS posted:

Don - the series was called "Magic Numbers: Hannah Fry's Mysterious World of Maths".  She is very good at speaking in a  (relatively) plain-English way about complex concepts: infinity, imaginary numbers etc, and she explores the very question you pose.

Mike 

Thank you for that Mike. I don’t recall that series, however, I might have forgotten the programme but remembered the question.

 can you recall any of the details she offered ?

Over the 3 instalments she offers evidence to support both views eg because mathematic patterns are seen in so much of nature, we can't have invented it.  Various eminent mathematicians offer their views too, and they differ. If I remember correctly Hannah Fry concludes at the end of episode 3 that the answer seems to be a mix of both: more and more developments increasingly point to our discovering mathematical rules that must have been there but at the same time we have been inventing the language of various branches of mathematics to express and share our understandings and explanations.  But I probably haven't done it justice with my clumsy summary. 

We invented maths and keep inventing new bits of it.

but as Bob says it is beyond reasonable doubt that there are quadrillions of other inhabited planets in (and beyond) the observable light cone of this part of the cosmos - and many of these planets will contain 'intelligent' beings that have also or will also invent/discover maths.

the ways in which various mathematical strcutures align with/describe empirical features/realtionships of the world (like say the inverse square feature of 'gravitational' attraction) do not mean that the world is 'made of maths' - just that maths is one very useful way to describe parts or the world

Bob the Builder posted:

To think that we are the only living planet with intelligent life forms spinning around in the vast cosmos is about as ridiculous as it gets. 

Wether we will ever cross paths with or even find evidence of other living planets past or present before this little planet of ours ceases to be able to support life is very, very doubtful. We are a dot and a blip like the blink of an eye and will be gone probably long before we are even noticed. 

I think we are agreed ? And also with jimdog ?

Humm - probably life is just too far away to communicate with us. - just our galaxy is unimaginably vast and signals can only travel at the speed of light.

Well, if the universe wasn't finely tuned so as to contain solid matter, planets atoms etc, then we wouldn't be here. so in all the other not-finely-tuned universes there are no people - so no one wondering it's not finely tuned. Most universes that are not finely tuned are probably just duds that fall apart or explode or implode...

But there are probably millions of planets in this universe where Buddha-like civilizations exist where people have tensions but do continue to live well and in tune with their planet for millions or even billions of years. But they would not be organized economicaly around constant growth of a physical production system.

JimDog posted:

Humm - probably life is just too far away to communicate with us. - just our galaxy is unimaginably vast and signals can only travel at the speed of light.

...

Quantum entanglement seems to communicate faster than the speed of light, but it also seems that it can't be used to convey information.

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