Monday, 18 January 2016

universal constant

At the risk of seeming totally and unapologetically loony, though that’s something everyone ought to hazard in the off-chance that someone else might be inspired by our addle-brained moments, I had a dream—which I struggled to recall more of—where H and I were taking a car ride and I either announced or silently deduced that the problem of the Cosmological Constant was like folding a map. It seemed terribly profound to me at time but the mysterious pronouncements of dreams usually do and usually are consigned to a deserving place in one’s mental junkyard. I was curious about the analogy as the “problem,” puzzle I think I was referring to does not even strike me, consciously, really as one of those honest ones that are deserving of worry and investigation:
the Cosmological Constant becomes problematic to scientists and theologians because it invokes the “best of all possible worlds” argument of German polymath Gottfried Leibniz (it’s strange than though calculus has become a rather feared and reviled subject best left to machines, both indepent discoverers are honoured with a snack named after them—Leibniz biscuits and Fig Newtons), that the fundamental values of the Universe are finely-tuned to host intelligent life as we know it. The ratios and numbers as we’ve figured them, though we don’t fully understand how they’re related to one another or what’s a prime notation and what’s derivative, had to have been exactly as they are and even the slightest change would mean that the Universe could not have come into being in any recognisable or sustaining form. While I think it’s equally as wrong to ignore one’s biases as it would be to not be in awe of that sort of coincidence, it does not seem to me to be a very big conundrum since we are the ones here, taking the measurements, but maybe it does figure large to my unconscious, seeing as I had that random dream—and it’s related to the Fermi Paradox. Though if there ever was a connection to begin with, I’ve lost the meaning of my analogy. Even though there’s apparently more than one right way to fold a map (which I’ve always found challenging), the solution is something that can be solved with algorithms, no matter how big the map—which might be significant in itself. I don’t know whether this will prove inspiring or not, but I think we should not be afraid to put our baffling dreams out there.