Sunday, June 12, 2011

A Definite Plan

Okay. So, for a while now I have become bedazzled with, um, stuff, stuff like Fibonacci numbers, the Golden Mean, fractals, who is buried in Grant's tomb, information saved at the edges of the universe, and the Holographic Principle, and the Information Paradox. I'm doing my best to understand it all.

Bedazzled with The Fibonacci Sequence of Numbers, where the previous 2 numbers are added to get the next number in the sequence--and it's always the same series of numbers: 0,1,1,2,3,5,8,13,21,34,55, etc. Like fractals, like Pi, it goes on forever. This arrangement is evident everywhere--in our DNA, in the shape of our ears, in the whorls of our fingertips and the proportions of our bodies, in the way smoke rises from a cigarette and oil flows through a pipeline, in the rise and fall of the stock market. It is evident in flowers, seashells, ocean waves, in planetary systems and in galaxies. It's applicable to the growth of every living thing, a single cell, a grain of wheat, a hive of bees.... Why? 'Tis a mystery!

I've been rereading "A Responsibility to Awe," by astronomer/poet Rebecca Elson, who envisions all of us, in a time before time, "drifting like a bright mist in a universe still young." The poem is called Antidotes to Fear of Death.

Sometimes as an antidote
To fear of death,
I eat the stars.

Those nights, lying on my back,
I suck them from the quenching dark
Til they are all, all inside me,
Pepper hot and sharp.

Sometimes, instead, I stir myself
Into a universe still young,
Still warm as blood:

No outer space, just space,
The light of all the not yet stars
Drifting like a bright mist,
and all of us, and everything
Already there,
But unconstrained by form.

And sometimes it's enough
To lie down here on earth
Beside our long ancestral bones:

To walk across the cobble fields
Of our discarded skulls,
Each like a treasure, like a chrysalis,
Thinking: whatever left these husks
Flew off on bright wings.

I've also been reading Leonard Susskind's "The Black Hole War," in which he discusses Grant's Tomb, the Holographic Principle, amd the Information Paradox, where all information is never lost, but is stored on the boundary of space. (Wherever that is). INFORMATION that could conceivably, reconstitute itself -- information "precisely coded in Planckian bits far too small to see...think of everything within a million light-years of the sun...that contains interstellar galaxies, stars, planets, people, and all the rest," all coded by information, stored. What is the nature of reality? Everything you know and love is made of particles that contain information--you can scramble them, burn them, chop them up into infinitesimal pieces, but no matter what you do to them the information is not lost--and you could--if you knew how--retrieve the particles and reconstruct them.

Albert Einstein has written: "The human mind is not capable of grasping the Universe. We are like a little child entering a huge library. The walls are covered to the ceilings with books in many different tongues. The child knows that someone must have written these books. It does not know who or how. It does not understand the languages in which they are written. But the child notes a definite plan in the arrangements of the books--a mysterious order which it does not comprehend, but only dimly suspects."

While I remain much like the child in Einstein's library, I do like the idea that the unique information that is encoded in all those I love, is saved somewhere out there, just waiting to be collected and reconstituted. Sometime. Somehow.


Catherine said...

What a lovely poem, and a lovely post, too

momA said...

Yes, I like this post and next time the grandkids are here, I will take them outside, lay on the grass on our backs and look up at the stars and tell the kids to try eating the stars and tell me what they taste like! Thank you, you deep thinker you!

Joyce Ellen Davis said...

Do let me know what they taste like! I'll bet they are very filling (and probably full of gas, and give you heartburn!)

Jo Hemmant said...

Oh I read Rebecca Elson's book, it's beautiful. I have a friend who wrote a great poem about Fibonnaci (actually Sharon Black, the Pindrop poet)...I'll ask her if I can forward it to you!