Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Never Met a Physics I didn't Like

Astrophysics and particle physics meet in the concept of equivalence. Astrophysicists measure distance in terms of time (light years) and particle physicists measure mass in in terms of energy (electron volts). Certainly measuring distance in terms of time is not new (it's biblical) and for the people of today, measuring mass in terms of energy is something rather ho-hum.

When John Caputo asserts that physics is all the metaphysics we're likely to get, he does not mean to transpose the transcendental signifier onto the negotiations with the natural world. He is more likely arguing for the jouissance in physics (and all of science) with its awe and mystery as all the wonder the postmodern world can take. He seems already to be intuiting the conceptual equivalence of all the physics we're likely to get as well. There are no permanent gaps in the human understanding of the universe, and any God that would fill them is dead on arrival, and so Caputo's entire project: the weakness of a God without sovereignty whose insistence is the gap God opens in 'events.'

Stardust memories light the corners of any mind open to the event: if the 'penny drops' in  the 'AHA' moment that gives Neal DeGrasse Tyson goose-bumps--the realization that everything in the universe is made of the same stuff, the same stardust--that mind is beckoned by a call made from a telephone booth in scientific "truth," whatever that is, and responds to its insistence, which gets itself done (in the middle voice, Caputo would say) in what we are calling the 'event.' No theory of everything here: the nature of events is ruled by uncontainability. The very excess of truth is the moment of the event.

And no Begriff is large enough to manage the excess in such moments; not unless it is constantly regenerating itself from nano-second to nano-second in the flow of streaming events that recede into vast distances.

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