Monday, May 30, 2011

Where world view and physics meet


I think there is a fascinating connection between physics and world view. As westerners (on the global scale) we put a lot of weight in the scientific arena. Why? Some cultures have no interest or value placed on scientific understanding, so why do we care?

And has that not changed in the last several decades? Have we not been changing as western thinkers? What direction of thought are we going?

If you think about history and the world after some of the major contributers to science like Isaac Newton and Galileo for example, you see a world transforming into organized systems. People discovered that the world is not run by random emotions of gods, but rather a very organized set of "laws." Newton understood gravity; Maxwell, electricity and magnetism. These were fundamental forces in nature that ruled our everyday life. So naturally, it follows that all systems, psychology, sociology, theology, government, music, art have fundamental "laws" that makes one successful in their respective field.

I can see in history how this rule of law dominated western world view for several hundred years. I believe the physicists gave humanity some handlebars to implement these organized boxes.

I also see some major cultural changes in the last 100 years. It is interesting to me to reflect on the connection between physics and world view once again.

The major contributers have like Einstein, Bohr, Schroedinger, and Hubble shifted paradigms in physics. Einstein questioned the constancy of time and introduced Relativity. He showed how an event can happen and two people will observe conflicting results. Schroedinger and Bohr were shocked by quantum theory. Particles communicated faster than the speed of light, followed different types of math randomly, particles could go through walls and didn't obey traditional "laws". They discovered, that things were not fully determined but rather statistical. It went completely against our developed assumptions that everything followed these determined paths.

As time went on and world wars grew to a close, humanity (western context) began looking at the world in "flexible" mode rather than "law" mode. As time went on systems and organizations started becoming a little more flexible and less deterministic. Tolerance became a virtue. People began to look introspective and see truth from their own perspective rather than looking at a Universal Truth, found in nature.



No comments: