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Wednesday, 27 March 2013

THE RESULT

AFTER READING “THE MYSTERIOUS UNIVERSE,” BY SIR JAMES JEANS.

I cannot suppose I completely
Comprehend the last Lecture I’ve read;
Can one pack “four dimensional” neatly
In a poor three-dimensional head?

Though the world be not made by a tinker-
Some botcher, malicious or blind-
Though a pure mathematical thinker
Conceived it-the first of its kind-

Can “continuums” fully content us-
All our high aspirations supply-
Has the Mind that conceived all things meant us
To live but in thought, and there die?

Is all nothing, of nothing compounded?
Nil, Nihil; in vacuo set;
Are we nowhere, by everywhere bounded,
Whilst nunquam and semper have met?

Is the Firmament all an illusion,
Formed of Nothingness added to Naught?
Is the Earth, is the Moon, an intrusion
Into mixed mathematical thought?

Should the Universe be but a thought, I
Am puzzled to tell if I am;
Whether some folk be good folk, some naughty-
And if anything matters a damn.

Lord Darling (1849–1936)

Note - from Wikipedia:-
The book was denounced by the Cambridge philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein, because "Jeans has written a book called The Mysterious Universe and I loathe it and call it misleading. Take the title...I might say that the title The Mysterious Universe includes a kind of idol worship, the idol being Science and the Scientist."

2 comments:

Roger said...

Seems a bit harsh of Ludwig. A little poetic licence leavens the scientific bread. You need something to wash down all that symbolic logic - a single malt perhaps.

A K Haart said...

Roger - he was a little harsh on this subject, possibly because he seems to have had some Christian sympathies, even though well hidden.