Friday, December 24, 2010

Keep Searching Says the Fat Lady

It was the Big Bang that started it all. Since then, its background microwave radiation lingers in a massive externality of space "without walls" propelled forward in time. Humans individually inhabit this reality. We are born, we live and then we die, navigating along by seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting and feeling. Sometimes we pause and wonder what else could be beyond border zone of consciousness. Is that all there is to it?

The Fat Lady feels our pain. Our conceit is even worse she says, reminding us that our inhabited reality is not as cleanly rational as we think. At a sub-atomic level, our world seems to be made up of probability energy that collapses only when we "look" at it. In the here and now, most of the gravity we experience is unaccounted for by the known mass of galaxies and the search is on for stubbornly undetectable "dark matter." Jump up to the level of stars and light-years and it turns out that space and time are astonishingly "relative." The mathematics that describes it all ultimately doesn't really need time or distance. Rather, they're imperfect tools used by the human brain that impose order on the universe.

Keep searching, says the Fat Lady. Wise Men Melchior, Caspar and Balthazar are good role models this holiday season. Mathematicians with eyes to the sky, their earthbound gifts remind us to be mindful of the limits of our central nervous systems. The scent of frankincense is at the edge of what is seen and known, solid gold contrasts with an ephemeral world construct while myrrh makes us wonder what the "future" is really all about.

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