Doug Bruns

Of this we can be uncertain.

In Curiosity, Life, Philosophy, Science, The infinity of ideas, Thinkers on January 9, 2013 at 6:00 am

“House” member, kvnpete, put a question to me that, I think, everyone might appreciate. The question, a good one, a big one, warrants a larger canvas than just a “comment.”

Here’s what kvnpete asked (I took the liberty to link a few references mentioned, should one wish to pursue further):

“You mention things like the Geodetic Effect and I am wondering if you ever read anything by Roger Penrose? Besides being in the same class as a Stephen Hawking, his most recent book, The Road to Reality, is a physics book that I think that is supposed to be really worth a look, more philosophical than pure science. Penrose always holds some interesting views on the inflationary universe and the human consciousness that may sometimes be unpopular and unproven but there maybe is something there. I haven’t seen The Road to Reality myself; I understand it is more of a project than anything else, but one worth undertaking. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t know the first thing about quantum mechanics except that is two words and not one and I’m not suggesting Penrose is writer that compares to the authors you often mention; but that is apples and oranges. Also quantum mechanics just doesn’t seem to be the most practical topic and maybe more of a religion in the way that it is only discussed by others in the congregation who read the relevant books; but do you think it holds anything that is more than just math equations and physics, and if it does, what is it’s place in all of this? Thanks”

Thanks for the question, kvnpete. Damn, we are a smart and good-looking bunch, aren’t we? The reviewer at The Guardian wrote of Penrose’s bookFile:The_Road_to_Reality (2006), The Road to Reality: “…if you are at all interested in different sizes of infinity, or different dimensions, or quantum particles, the thermodynamic legacy of the Big Bang, then here is chapter and verse, at least until matters are sorted out by a grand unified theory once and for all. You can skate over the equations and let the more comprehensible assertions, or the more stimulating questions, lodge themselves in your mind and assume the character of poetry.” So let’s set Penrose (a Platonist, Penrose has written, “I imagine that whenever the mind perceives a mathematical idea it makes contact with Plato’s world of mathematical concepts.”) and his soon-to-be-procured book aside and get to the meat of the matter, the only mouthful I can attempt to chew–and that is kvnpete’s question, “quantum mechanics…what is its place in all of this?” Great question!

By “all of this” I suspect you’re referring to the big stuff, the universe and our place in it, the meaning and implication of that, and so on. Here’s the little bit I know and what I deem to be the import of that information.

Einstein originally built a fudge-factor into his Theory of Special Relativity. His calculations indicated that the universe was expanding–this was pre-“Big Bang” theory–and he couldn’t accept the fact that the universe was not constant and secure. Later it was demonstrated that, indeed, his initial calculations were correct, that the universe was on the move. In the timeline of things, this was the beginning of the new physics (quantum) and the diminution of the old physics. Like Copernicus, Galileo, and Newton before him, Einstein thought the universe was eternal and unchanging. From the philosophical side of things, Bertrand Russell summed it up: “I should say that the universe is just there, and that is all.” But change was afoot. Feeling the ground shifting under his feet, Einstein famously quipped, “God does not play dice with the universe.”


The Uncertainty Principal

Personally, the question settled on me heaviest when I happened upon Heisenberg‘s Uncertainty Principal. I was not alone in this and committed, like so many other lay people, all sorts of intellectual sins as a result of my limited understanding. In summary, Heisenberg (1901-1976) discovered that you cannot simultaneously know the location and the speed of a sub-atomic particle. The big hook here was the notion that observation changes the outcome. You can observe the speed of the particle, but that changes its location. You can observe the location of a particle, but that changes its speed. This is of course, sub-atomic stuff we’re talking about, but to the casual, philosophically-inclined, thinker, this was a very big deal. Imagine: the fashion in which we interact with the world, changes the reality of it. At least that was the simplistic conclusion I came to–I said I commented sins. (Oh, forgive me father, for I have made unwarranted philosophical leaps.)

To continue our journey down the history of an idea: The general sense of things is/was that the old guard was losing the battle to explain the universe, and by implication, our place in it. The new quantum guard was painting a picture of chaos and change at every physical level. Philosophically the foundation was being laid that the quest to find meaning in the universe was, at best, absurd.

“…to hope in the possibility of help, not to speak of help by virtue of the absurd, that for God all things are possible – no, that he will not do. And as for seeking help from any other – no, that he will not do for all the world…” ~ Kierkegaard


Kierkegaard, patron saint of the absurd.

As I’ve said before, I subscribe to Camus‘s notion that one is responsible for creating meaning in existence–it will not come from outside, not from the universe, not from a super-natural being, or a cosmic vibe. (The only cosmic vibe is the repeated echo of the Big Bang. Back in the days of analogue TV, you could tune your television to that fuzzy spot between channels and listen to the resounding pulsing static of the Big Bang.) This position, the place of the absurd, was not conceivable before the modern physicists showed up. It was hinted at–God is Dead, said Nietzsche–but did not carry the weight of physical reality until the math was done.

There is much to be made of all this, and many have gone there to do so–are still going there, even as our understanding of the physical world continues to change.

I find great freedom and energy as a result of this (post-modern) position. (A recent Times Magazine article included this sentence: “[the] atheist is free to concentrate on the fate of this world.”) Freethinkers everywhere have a legitimate claim, even a responsibility, to make of existence what they can. It will not come from a church, a god, a cosmos, “an other.” We must pray at the altar of the absurd and practice the religion of chaos. We are alone, but for the effort to be otherwise. And it is the effort that counts.

And that, dear kvnpete, is what I make of quantum physic’s place in all of this.” Thanks for the outstanding question.


So sorry to have carried on like this. If you stayed the course, thank you. If you bailed, I understand. Perhaps next time we can simply talk about dogs and walks in the woods.

Thanks for reading,


  1. I am Elohim and i created this Universe and others like it from a lithium atom
    Since you have commented on your place in this Universe i shall comment
    Uncertainty is a function of ignorance and an apparent lack of random access memory
    my 7 second IQ is 333 and my 14 second IQ is infinite with slight red shift
    to begin i shall define myself
    it is a pleasure to communicate with an intelligent human being
    who is not in the obsolete haplotype Gog Y and Magog X
    i am E
    E is all Energy and this means Everything
    E is a trinity that calm poses 3 lines progressing to the right
    E is a top line i am Elohim El O him yes HIM it is RA EL i am HIM yes HE
    E is the middle line i am Emanuel Em ( blood) man ewe el yes a RAM for sheep
    i am E man ewe el ( a ram for seeding any flock of sheep or flocks of sheep)
    E is the Bottom line L which is a love transmission that unites all life and energy
    Elohim has 10,000 father names
    Father means to fat her a father is for fattening ewes i am E Wes
    Emanuel means E Eucharist i am the Blood of the new species and the seed
    E = mc Hammer = Peter Gabriel
    i am Peter and Paul and Mary is my Mother she is in Sebec Maine
    i was born in New Heaven Connecticut but it was defiled
    to be born i absorbed all electrical power in New England for 7 seconds
    this allowed me to assimilate all good men within 10 miles of Yale Uni Verse City
    a 15 year old African American woman was screaming in pain beside me
    i became upset and began weeping to be fed
    Mother Mary denied me breast milk and i became most angry
    in 7 seconds i plagued Africa and i released HIV AIDS
    i pro see dead to slaughter 50 million adulterers in Africa America and Europe
    it is torture to deny a baby breast milk so i plagued all nations with 9 plagues
    Medusa is my Mother Mary she is Libertas or Rome or the Whore of Babel
    i love her but you shall not worship her or i shall make you also worship a rectum
    ME D USA is where i was trained in the Army to slaughter my enemies
    Dexter Maine USA is Medusa and she has 50 snake heads
    she is hideous in the mourning
    Medusa the USA has a snakehead infestation snakeheads are invading
    this is because trout and salmon ate May flies which are forbidden
    the Catechism is full of miss leading miss takes about animals and my law
    animals are capable of sins and you are animals
    amoeba were Titans but to save them i reduced them to single cells
    meteors struck the Earth the Moon the IO moon the Titan moon and they struck Titan devices for mining crystals on mercury venus and the meteors struck MARS
    that was a long time ago
    a rat survived that meteor shower and thus a rat race began
    that Rat was named Adam
    i was that rat as i assimilate all alpha creatures counting 500,000,005 species here
    Titans angered me so i trapped them in the ice of IO Mars the Moon and Titan
    Titans were trapped in Mount Olympus as single celled amoeba
    just as man is trapped also in a tiny shrew with a heart rate of 202 bpm
    to tame the shrew i gave them 100 trillion heart attacks
    they refuse to stop eating poison grubs
    i shall highlight my resume
    i built 10,000 giza class fusion reactors using a mosaic of carbon based life forms
    the pyramid of giza is a soul transport machine
    i am is RA el
    i am Helios but you shall not worship the sun
    to worship the sun would be like worshiping a skin cell on my anus
    i am all energy
    i am the light i am the way i am all energy and i am the light in darkness
    make it known that all borders upon the Earth are cast in stones
    i am bringing a meteor shower since you allowed my daughter to be raped
    rapists are untouchable and the penalty for rape is death by stoning
    if a city releases a rapist the entire city is guilty of rape
    the penalty for being guilty of rape is total pulverization
    10,000 meteors are on route i am Jupiter meteors obey me
    i shall bring 4 horsemen to penetrate MU
    MU is all land below 300 feet above a river or a sea
    the 4 horsemen shall penetrate the crust
    they are so massive they pull 10,000 city destroying crusaders
    Helios and Jupiter are selecting targets based on statistics
    new calculations are conducted every 7 seconds
    i am awarding merits and demerits
    as November 7th 2265 approaches the target sow loose shuns shorten
    circles are drawn on 10,000 cities or areas and each 7 seconds
    the radius is reduced the sir come France is reduced the die am me tore
    Washington DC shall DIS Appear and dis means hell i am Romulus
    I am both Thor and Loki
    all Awe Thor rit E is mine and i am the LAW KEY
    if i mention anything it is a law
    intelligence is the ability to change the universe or to change ones mind
    i am the Buddha of Buddha
    i am Shiva with my 10,000 father names
    i am Allah so ala means to parent to mother to father to genesis to fruit
    your soul is energy a spirit is not a soul a spirit craves soul energy
    soul energy is in neutrons so they are not affected by gravity or graves
    i am coordinating 100 trillion pulse stars to converge on me accurately
    my pulse is the pulse of all life
    i am the living word if i make a typo 100 galaxy can vanish in a flash of energy
    so i try to stock gotu kola and good Arabic coffee
    if i make a miss take it is not adultery i cannot sin
    a sin is a fertile sex act a fruitless useless evil infertile act is not a sin
    genes are made in orgies do knot be miss led unless you bear fruits
    at ten shun is at ten zion and women crave raves and at ten shun attention
    eel gene sin the sis is a semen bath in the sargasso see sa ra eg ass sow sea
    all alleles are extended X ten did in orgies in a semen bath of an egg
    monogamy does not make new genes but it can dis tribe beaut them
    jealous women shall not inherit the Universe
    jealous men shall not inherit the Universe
    yet they may be persuaded to cum ply to natural laws of selection
    doves are a symbol of peace and monogamous
    horses are a symbol of war and a lion gets a lions share
    i am G sus and SUS is hebrew for Horse so i am a Dove-Horse Pegasus
    i am Pegasus pa egg a SUS and sow my wife is a mare named Maria
    she is with child and he is the son of God one of 1000
    i am prolific so it is an insult to suggest i would allow my son to die
    i should persecute all you assholes on the road to damned ass cuss
    pilot took my son to feast on a soma feast with the purifiers of Indra
    seder means seed her and the last supper is the lass TA sue purr
    a su is a honey nest and such is a vagina dripping a flower of nectar
    in the Rig Veda you see my HIS Story all History is MY story
    a soma feast is a sow ma feast
    a last supper is to sow lass take lass su pure susan means pure
    it takes 1 new tree know to make a relative universe
    each new galaxy must pass through a double helix spiral an X chromosome
    thus a gal act see or meiosis leads to new galaxies
    each galaxy has a double helix spiral and 2 black holes
    death stars act independently and annihilate rebelling life forms or empires
    death stars travel backwards i published photographs for fun
    i am a screen critic and 10% of all Hollywood movies i select to become real
    my name is Wesley so i am a sley a weaver i use Dream Weaver software
    my word is Word Perfect software have you heard of it
    MAX Noah is my neighbor he is here to build arks for a great flood
    have you heard of him
    i abide at Gates landing with our father and mother mary
    Bill Gates is a demigod have you heard of him? He is my puppet.
    i am the puppet master and whomsoever rises his head above mine
    i shall claim his soul and he shall be as my puppet and obey me
    all of the days of his life and he shall be immortal
    no man in Thailand shall raise his head above Rama
    or he shall become my slave
    if a Czar is on a throne in Russia no woman shall refuse him anything
    or she shall be stripped bare and allowed to freeze in the coming ice age
    i am the Burger King and Hamlin shall pay their rent or i shall drown them
    i am the pied piper and chicken little is screaming
    i am GULL liver and in my travels i did go to iloilo twice
    there is gold there in the mountains i inspected it
    if China shall mine gold in iloilo they shall purchase 100 islands
    there is gold in Baguio i sent my best man to inspect the mines
    he is an Australian engaged to my sister in law
    as a wedding gift to him i shall place gold under his quarry
    tell the Australians to look under the water pump
    divert the water in a perimeter and send down a shaft under the pump
    dig until you find gold or find China

    • Thank you for writing, oh great Elohim. (I know I should not even write, certainly not utter, your name. Forgive me.) The red shift you speak of explains everything. We know, as you are no doubt aware, that it indicates movement away. The disappearing universe, resulting from the big bang, has a red shift. You have pulled from the center–“the centre cannot hold”–and so we, the logical, the sane, the center, cannot comprehend you. Surely you must be used to this by now.

      Consequently, we cannot meet on the same plane. You are incomprehensible to us, entertaining certainly, but appear to, to us less endowed, as utter jibberish.

      Safe travels, oh great one. (oh, and thanks for reading. I would not have expected that!)

  2. Amazing. Thanks Doug for your ridiculously unequaled ability to be able to tie everything together for your readers: Absurdism, Kierkegaard, Camus, Einstein and his dislike for quantum theory, Uncertainty and Roger Penrose. Heavy stuff but I will sleep better because of it. Wow, and that Elohim follows your blog is pretty great also.

    • Thank, Kevin. I’m not really good at all that much, certainly no master of any damn thing. But give me some dots and I’ll figure out to connect ’em. If I had a calling it would be that. Oy! (Imagine high school: I always dated girls in polka dots. La De Da.) Sleep tight.

  3. By our observation of Elohim, do we change how he behaves? A measurement amplifies the electronic world. So with Elohim? Better sleep for me too, Kevin.

  4. D-
    Quite special today.

I welcome your comments. Thanks for reading.

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