Blogs by Kalikiano Kalei
As Easy as a Bridge...
11/23/2008 4:53:00 PM
Quantum physics raises its perplexing questions and poses its endless chuckles as we humming beans strive to make sense of it all before we extinguish all life on the planet. It's probably not at all helpful to realise that somewhere close by, closer than we may suspect, our identical clones actually do have it figured out.
AS EASY AS A BRIDGE…
Occasionally, just occasionally, I will find my thought processes diverted totally by things other than the lubricity coefficient of Betty-Jo Bioloski’s honey pot (or Mildred Weenfinkle’s, or Melany-Dawn Heyburn’s, or Audrey Farber’s, etc.) or the hydrodynamic compression factor of Malia Leilani Montesque’s bilateral silicone-augmented size double D boobies.
One of these rare moments of divisive distraction occurred recently whilst looking up something on the internet. You see, I’ve been reading some of screen-writer/surfer Allan C. Weisbecker’s fascinating output (Cosmic Banditos, The Search for Captain Zero and Wisbecker’s autobiographical writer’s recent memoir titled Can’t You Get Along With Anyone?) and found, in the midst of my reading of Cosmic Banditos’ chapters, that it was dragging me into a familiar old patch of cerebral quicksand I am well acquainted with: the quantum mechanics of proto philosophy and religion. [‘Ouch!’, you say? I distinctly heard an ‘Ouch!’ out there!] Coincidentally, Weisbecker’s uniquely coruscated take on experiential pseudoreality tends to prompt that ejaculation (read: exclamatory remark) quite understandably, so I am totally empathetic to the utterance.
Reluctantly, I put Weisbecker’s book down and began yet anew to reflect on those eternally recurrent and supremely important questions that have plagued mankind (and I do mean ‘mankind’, not ‘humanity’ here) since the dawn of time: 1) Will I get any tonight (meaning chance poke squid, brahs)? And 2) What is the ultimate meaning of human life? Since I used to think that the quickest way to win the 25 inch Sperm Triathlon (surprisingly still not an Olympic event, but it should be, considering how popular the sport is between men and women) was via my intellectual gifts and not my bulging pecs, abs, and biceps (wrong! wrong! wrong!), I made a simple if common enough error in the calculus of my interpersonal Unified Body Theory and imagined that somewhere out there was a perfect female Cro Magnon specimen similarly afflicted (like moi) from an abundance of frontal lobe hyperactivity, who wouldn’t mind an occasional fling with a smart Neanderthal (Lucy does Piltdown Man?).
A few minutes of further reflection along that tangent quickly reminded me of how erroneous that particular presumption has been throughout my life (women usually don’t prefer mating with highly ordered brains as much as they seem to prefer mating with dangerously unstable beef), fortunately, and I was quickly returned to the present moment, plucked out of the fleshly groove and back into the abstract mental one in the time it takes to shake Captain Winkie, post micturation. Sometimes this is a difficult task (thinking deeply, not shaking Captain Winkie), given the fact that the male mind is so conditionally linked to the matrix of its gender hormones.
In this particular instance, getting back into a reflective mode of mental focus was helped by the fact that I have been recently bumping into the subtle perplexities of non-mathematical quantum mechanics in my daily affairs about as recurrently as Honolulu muni bus drivers bounce off cars in Waikiki. After quantum physics guru Richard Feynman’s death in 1988, about the only direct interaction I had had with the subject was when my UC Berkeley climbing partner and rope-mate suddenly decided to forsake the graduate degree in theoretical physics he was immersed in and instead pursue a study of classical ballet. Chaos Theory was still in its infancy on the Berkeley campus at that time (the 70s), as was String Theory, when my buddy, aid-climbing ‘Bolter Bob’, surprised the pureed pahootie out of me by declaring his intent to start developing his pirouette and turning point capabilities, rather than refine his rock mantling and belaying techniques. His declaration, delivered in the middle of a winter climb on a Sierra ridge we had undertaken that was stalled dead by a sudden storm, and pronounced in the cramped confines of a small two-man mountain tent, did more than a little to upset my entire orderly social cosmology of that moment. Although I could easily understand how Bob might have wished to initiate pelvic muscle mass/energy/inertia studies on some of his female ballerina associates, the thought that he may have simply desired to refine his aesthetic sensitivities of ‘le danse’ caromed off the ruminative pool cue of my consciousness like a scorching-hot 8-ball to the corner pocket.
Bob did in fact forsake granite ridges and glacial snow-slopes to ‘pass the dew’ (pas de deux) with other UC dance students after that climb, but I had never seriously (or even serously, sanguine humor intended) considered ballet as somehow fitting for a sober student of the heady theoretical sciences. After a bit, however, I finally got beyond this rather perplexing mystery and cultivated a new rope-partner in the UC Hiking Club we all belonged to (note: UC Hiking Club was the group’s name, but it encompassed everything from larksome outings to count the wild bunny rabbit population on Muir Woods trails, through serious winter assaults on Mt. Denali in Alaska—known to the non-faithful as Mt. McKinley).
Cut to the present, when I curiously began encountering a whole lot of shakin’ goin’ on in various public media venues on the subject of quantum mechanics. It didn’t take long to grasp that, as none other a florid thinker than Uncle Chutney (unclechutney.blogspot.com/11/popular/1/popular-quantum-mechanics.html) has noted, we are all of us after the same elusive goal. That is, whether rocket scientist, sexual aesthete, secular atheist, or faithful Pentacostal Evangelical, everyone madly seeks the same answer to the Kozmic Question concerning human life on this stellar mudball (i.e. What’s It All About?). As Chutney has also noted, ‘Everyone has an opinion (and an opinion is a poor substitute for a fact).’ Of course in view of the ‘fact’ that absolutely nothing in the most wildly remote ranges of human awareness is actually factual, his use of that particular word may be generously excused and overlooked here as a possible example of semantic excess.
The above observation about opinions (and disregarding the salient observation that most are damned stupid) leads us to an important understanding: that everyone seeks the answer to that annoyingly persistent Universal Question in their own way, and subject to the constraints of their own (often rather limited) intellectual resources. Religionists of impoverished imagination (and perhaps even more deprived intelligence) seek the comfort of an answer in terms of an old-fashioned, bible thumping Christian Messiah. Atheists seek the answer by austerely studious efforts to explain away all the religionists ‘answers’. Scientists seek the answer in dissections of the Corpus Universimus’ structural matrix by miniaturising their familiar frame of reference even further, trying to harmonise logic and analytical technique by force fitting sub-atomic laws of physical behavior into theories that just seem to defy all rational human analysis.
‘Kids! Don’t try this at home’ variety amateur quantum physicists (such as moi) seek the answer by joyfully associating contemporary explanations of quantum physics with those offered by schools of existentialist theory that are quite often linked to gross ingestion of quantities of Tequila (and other consciousness altering substances). Regrettably, that venue of cosmological refuge is proscribed for me by a personal metabolic syndrome I have that revolts at the first mention of ETOH, a flaw in my otherwise perfect escapist’s persona that vexes me mightily (and keeps me from appreciating excellent vintages of rare wines as well, sad to say). Regrettably, it’s really as perfect an enforcer of good behavior as an electronic leash placed on a potential parole violator.
Since much of Weisbecker’s writing deals with extreme alternative experiential life, as someone who has always found the patent absurdity of all human life to be intoxicatingly fascinating, I am drawn to the inherent logic of a few specific apparent hypotheses that emerge. [I say apparent, due to the fact that one can not be absolutely certain of anything, once one has stripped away all the various onion-like layers of ‘value-added’ human interpretation; the point here being that ‘truths’ should always be viewed as ‘assumptions’ in the intense clarity enabled by the vastly unforgiving light of close scrutiny.] One of these is that given the fact that since in quantum mechanics there have not yet emerged any absolutely immutable truths governing interactions between known and unknown forms of physical matter, the very most basic physical underpinnings of all cosmological life as we know it defy any sort of absolutist moral blather about right and wrong, good versus bad, and/or discussion of conscionable versus unconscionable conditions of relativity. That is to say, if you take gods and goddesses out of the equation in an attempt to correlate quantum physics to actual human social interactions, there’s no real imperative that mandates making nice with one’s fellows all the time.
I do not trot out this caveat of potential human behavior with any intent to justify present American forms of social or intellectual anarchy, since one man’s Cinco Xs Tequila is simply another man’s spiritual denial of the fleshly appetites, when viewed through the smoky glass of quantum possibilities (viz. alternate planes of reality and parallel universes). Rather, it signifies further evidence—evidence that continues to mount up as the centuries pass—that none of us has any more glimmer of understanding about anything approximating Ultimate Truth than the corporate bosses behind Ronald MacDonald and Juan Valdez (they’re all high in the flavor zone, naturally enough). In other words, this quest for meaning we are all so thoroughly and unthinkingly enmeshed in is so uniformly frustrating that it’s about as easy as a bridge. At this point you are doubtless asking yourself “What in the $#$^&.*^! Does that mean?” Bear with me as I explain and amplify a tad, fellow pilgrims.
Back in the 70s, several brilliant social and philosophical satirists who comprised a group known as ‘The Firesign Theatre’ (David Ossman, Peter Bergman, Phil Proctor, Phil Austin) came about as close to embodying this functional revelation of reality as the most brilliant theoretical physicist known (Einstein? Bohr?). On one of their LP recordings they use a phrase in some of their dialogue that goes ‘It’s as easy as a bridge. You know…there’s water falling out of it and people falling out of it.” Another brilliant quantification of this sympathetically resonant thought is found in more of their dialogues, “Everything you know is WRONG!” I could add to that, “Even your wrongest thoughts are WRONG!”, but I will resist the urge, being not inclined by nature to obviate the obvious, nor prone to belaboring pronate horses.
I suppose what any truly insightful free spirit should perceive about our many myriad allusions of reality is that what we do not know about ourselves and the Universe we appear to occupy outstrips our paltry store of ‘known scientific facts’ by a rather kozmik order of magnitude. Sadly, that has not deterred most self-proclaimed ‘seekers after truth’…especially the hard core right wing religious fanatics amongst us (whether Christian or Islamic, since under the skin they’re pretty much perfectly congruent in their doctrines of intolerant understanding)…from creating the answers they seek by projecting their ignorance in the form of imagined ‘personalised gods’, etc. Further, it is a fact (if one can accept the validity of that term after considering that ‘facts’ are, after all, merely formalized and ritualized opinions) that in terms of approaching any sort of real understanding of whether or not there are any ‘Universal Truths’ to discover, human beings are still about as vested with the ability to understand any of these things as a frontally lobotomized person with Down’s Syndrome.
All that having been dug out of my deepest crypts of thought and exposed to the critically acute brilliance of daylight scrutiny, I should say that my fascination with how perfectly quantum physics dovetails with all the other venues of human inquiry (philosophy, science, mathematics, physics, superstition and religion…although these last two are actually part of a whole classification) to put the lie to ‘truth’ of any sort has simply been revitalised time and time again in recent years. At least so it would seem to me, as I continue to batter up against the inexplicable mysteries of quantum physics and how they seem so relevant to the affairs of our human lives in an extremely irrelevant manner.
One of Allan Weisbecker’s greatest attractions for me has been the fact that he appears to understand the basic folly of all our elaborate and angst-ridden human soul-searching well enough to throw it all over for simply an occasionally perfect longboard ride and a good glass of distilled mescal. The incorporation of quantum physics in his book Cosmic Banditos was merely a writer’s thematic gimmick, a happy circumstance that enabled him to draw experiential parallels in the plot of his story, and not any sort of serious effort to illuminate figurative ‘Eloi’. Despite this, the fluidic philosophical substrate of his outlook still stands out like the wild, wind-driven spray on a wave’s crest.
Be all this as it may, Weisbecker appreciates the fact that surfing can be and is as much a legitimately actualised objective of the ‘fulfilled’ life as any other human activity. That is, rather than wasting any of the short years of life allocated by the average human being to agonizing over attaining advanced academic degrees, career success, and/or all the material rewards of the American capitalistic system (like many of the rest of us poor sods), Weisbecker understands that as far as our chances of breaking through the muddles of our confusion to attain real enlightenment are concerned, a lifelong search for oneness with a wave is an admirable life-goal and by FAR preferable to any activity requiring a white shirt, tie, suit, and use of a laptop.
The only reason why I am not out there on a wave-top permanently myself is that I am and have always been a moral coward; a person whose libido has been overruled so many countless times by the anxieties of fancied material and spiritual deprivation (i.e. food, shelter, and affection) that I am now a hollow shell of my former libidenous self. I am simply not a risk-taker by nature or inclination, preferring as I would imagine most individuals with intellectual pretensions do, to calculate odds well in advance and then err cautiously on the side of constrained prophylaxis. Still, as far as cravenly moral heaps of humanity go, I’m actually not all that abjectly needful of sympathy. I just tend to accept circumstance, as many of us do, and live out my remaining days aware of the fact that no one has the answers we all so frantically seek. Small consolation perhaps, is the fact that no one shall ever have them, but remember….it’s all as easy as a bridge, after all. Or not!
As ‘Uncle Chutney’ adroitly put it in his recent blog: “Trust no one, not even yourself.” Sage words, Uncle Chutney! I may have to spread a bit more of you on my toast for metaphysical breakfast.
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