The morning after a “wave election“, this seems like the perfect time to talk about:
Wait – what?
I noted about a month ago that I was going to stop writing ‘reviews’ of the Sixty Symbols videos, though I intended to keep working through them for my own edification and enjoyment, and I left open the possibility that I might again blog about a particular video. Well, that particular wave form has collapsed, you might say.
So, let’s talk about art. (Trust me, this actually makes sense.)
One of the things I most loved about owning and operating an art gallery was getting to know more artists, better. I’ve always been fascinated by intelligent and creative people and how they view the world – how they can almost see more deeply into reality and understand relationships which are otherwise opaque to the rest of us. A good artist uses that insight, shares that vision, by translating what they perceive into a form which is understandable to others. The character of Duc Ng from Communion of Dreams is supposed to be this kind of person, and the insight he shares about the alien artifact is crucial to understanding the mystery at the heart of the book.
This idea is hardly new – indeed, it is one of the fundamentals of good philosophy as well as good art. And so while I was very pleased to see it brought out in the “wave function” video (at about the 8:00 mark) I wasn’t terribly surprised. The point made was that Claude Monet, founder of the Impressionist school of art, had the ability to mentally ‘step back’ from his paintings, and envision them as they would be perceived from a distance, thereby providing a bridge between the microscopic and the macroscopic.
And this is a very good metaphor for the differences between the quantum mechanical world where the wave function rules and the classical physics world we live in.
See, this is the problem – quantum physics is so counter-intuitive that the tag line for the Wave Function video is: “If you think you understand this video, you probably don’t.”
So why make it? Well, because.
Because you can start to approach an understanding of what is happening at the quantum level through analogy and art and metaphor, even if you can’t quite wrap your head around what is actually going on with the math. Or at least you can be pushed to realize that the reality you have been living in doesn’t exactly jibe with the one which actually functions in terms of probabilities and possibilities. We deal in hard facts – or at least think we do. We make decisions. We put that daub of paint in one particular place, and so freeze our vision into a frame.
And yet . . .
And yet we edit. Stories are tweaked. A line sketched here is erased. A new daub of paint is put down, covering the last one. A new fact appears, and our understanding of the past changes – the universe changes before our eyes. We realize that the world we live in is somehow in flux – unable to be pinned down.
Just as a certain alien artifact appears just a little bit different to everyone who sees it.
Just as an election is interpreted from each unique vantage point.
2 Comments so far
Leave a comment