10 February 2016

No time to give this post a title

Drought, drouth, dearth. I assume these words are related. Pre­tending you’re drunk, slur their pronunciation: they sound similar.

Many people are worried about the national debt and how it’ll ever get paid off. Against the idea that austerity will help the economy, I believe in growth. I’ve heard it said: You’ve got to spend money to make money. If a country invests in the schooling of its citizenry, then the people will prosper: for higher incomes among the populace means more tax money collected by the country—a return on investment. Am I wrong? Is this idea too simple to be true?

Bring out number weight & measure in a year of dearth. (That’s one of Blake’s “Proverbs of Hell.”)

I don’t think that an economic recession is the equivalent of natural famine, because the economy is the result of rules, definitions, agreements between individuals, etc.—all of which can be tuned—whereas nature simply IS: nature has no contract, no promise, no settlement with humankind: nature’s face is stony, immovable: nature is merciless.

I like to hear a simple song played on a stringed instrument, joined by a graceful and feminine voice intoning words in a foreign tongue. That’s my bias.

But I never know how much or how long I can trust a book that talks about cosmology. This morning I read some pages in a publication that is more than fifteen years old—I fear that the information it gave me, if it’s not already obsolete, will surely be outdated by the time that anyone reads this post. Notwithstanding, I’ll quote a few sentences, just to be reckless.

Quarks, electrons, and other elementary particles originated in dimly understood processes during the first microsecond.

I’m fascinated by the notion that some particles are elementary, and moreover that these particles had an origin. Is it true that anything possessing an origin must also have an end? In previous diary entries, I’ve wondered about quarks—were they created, can they be destroyed? The above statement seems to answer at least one of those questions.

Also I love “dimly understood processes”—the phrase itself, as well as the state of semi-conception. To understand yet dimly…

But how might one measure the brightness of one’s understanding?

And just imagine the passing of the “first microsecond” (apparently this latter word means one millionth of a second): I like that prefix micro—but I suggest that we adjust our time terms so that that initial moment can be called a plain old second, and all of the other seconds (the kind that measure one sixtieth of a minute) should be known as macroseconds—just to liven up our daily speech. (Also: Let pi equal one and reset the math world accordingly.)

The first second. The second first. The third person. Tertius Persona. Emmanuel Radnitzky. What biblical character was named Legion? How many multitudes does the aforementioned value contradict? May God revise? A New York minute equals how many Minnesota macrodays?

The baryons of the universe start life as various flavors and colors of free quarks…

Why did my parents name me Bryan instead of Baryons? I could’ve burst to life in various flavors and colors; and my quarks would be free instead of restricted. (All this stuff I’m saying is hilarious.)

The baryons then condense into neutrons and protons as the universe cools. Because the protons outnumber the neutrons, most of them are left standing alone when the nucleons pair off into bound nuclei, leaving a universe made mostly of hydrogen and about one-quarter helium.

There is no need to feel pity for all of those protons who are left standing alone. It is just as dignified to pair off into bound nuclei as it is to remain as you were when you first condensed… or when your baryon first became the brand new you—whichever’s the right way to put it.

Stars shine because hydrogen is very slowly being transformed into helium, converting some of those protons into neutrons…

Is this really why stars shine? The interaction of these particles during this transformation gives off light—is that correct? But why? (One can always ask “Why?” again.) Why light? Why not something else? And why precisely this interaction, these particles? Why are things the way things are? Who made the blueprints for the blue­prints? What transpired before the first microsecond—was it the last time there was a last time? …And why question? Why accept any answer? Are we forever replacing one arbitrary principle with another?

Given: 1. The Waterfall, 2. The Illuminating Gas”—that’s the name of Marcel Duchamp’s posthumously exhibited assemblage.

In closing, I don’t care if it’s possible to quote William Blake too frequently, or if I’ve too often copied the following outburst (from Blake’s elucidation of one of his own artworks; and, by the way, I leave intact his unorthodox punctuation and capitalization)—I like it so much that I can’t repeat it enough:

What it will be Questiond When the Sun rises do you not see a round Disk of fire somewhat like a Guinea O no no I see an Innumerable company of the Heavenly host crying Holy Holy Holy is the Lord God Almighty I question not my Corporeal or Vegetative Eye any more than I would Question a Window concerning a Sight I look thro it & not with it.

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