Re: Postmodernism and Truth (was Re: virus: Simulacrum)

C. David Noziglia (
Sat, 25 May 1996 09:24:35 -0700

J. McVean wrote:
> Perhaps so... but I'm not so sure that they should have such a
> profound effect. Newton's laws work perfectly well for almost any
> situation we are likely to encounter in ordinary life. Unless you
> are moving at a pretty good fraction of the speed of light, there
> is no need to use messy special relativity equations. And unless
> your mass is on the order of that of an atomic nucleus, QM is
> well outside the realm of everyday experience. I don't mean to
> imply that these theories are not worth learning about, but
> extending them into the realm of everyday life, which seems to be
> the region of "truth" that concerns most people, is probably not
> justified. You just end up with statements like "Everything is
> relative, dude." and "We're all one with the cosmos, man."
> Jason

I agree with your points, except (there's always an except) that QM does go a
long way to explaining real phenomena in the everyday world. I recommend
James Gleick's really marvelous biography of Richard Feymann if you want to
go into this more, but Feynmann was always looking for ways in which the real
world could only be explained by QM processes, like the colors on an oil
slick in a water puddle, or the way light sparkles and dances when reflected
off the waves in a large body of water, or mirages, or . . .

Another, more light-hearted, extension was Bohr's Complimentarity Principle.
He was extending the Heisenbery Uncertainty Principle, and saying that in
lots and lots of situations, the more we have on one thing, the less we have
of another, and there were lots of these paired, complimentary, ideas. Once,
someone asked him what the compliment was of Klaarheit (clarity). Bohr
thought for a while, and then said "Wahrheit" (truth). Don't need to be
stone to grok that, man.

C. David Noziglia
Wellington, New Zealand

"Blessed are those who have no expectations, for they will never be disappointed." Kautiliya Shakhamuni Sidhartha Gautama Buddha

"Things are the way they are because they got that way."