AN IMAGINARY JOURNAL OF EINSTEIN'S DREAMS THROUGH TWENTIETH CENTURY LITERATURE AND THE WAR ON TERROR AFTER 9/11
by John Marrapodi
One could say that physicists are the modern philosophers of the time, turning equations into reality. For myself, my realities and dreams were one in the same. The contemplation of things such as the perception of time and space, my wonder at the way the compass will always face north and the flow of time from the clock tower in the center of my village are examples of the fundamentals of the contemplation of human progress and evolution. I always said "Imagination is more important than knowledge." In my opinion there must be curiosity, stimulation and most importantly freedom, for any fundamentals of society to be contemplated. Alan Lightman states, "Various discoveries are waiting fully formed ready to be uncovered. If one scientist doesnt uncover another will." I am attributed with the statement that "had Newton or Leibniz never lived, the world would have had the calculus, but if Beethoven had not lived, we would never had the C-minor symphony." Why would we say such things? These are the reasons that I was able to conclude that space is no longer the box that the universe comes in; instead, space, time, matter and energy are locked together in the most intimate embrace. If I were to follow the rules and not my imagination I would have never found this out. I had to look beyond what was given to me and create something out of my imagination that would break and contradict the laws that we have been given through time. Without opening our minds to new possibilities we will never be able to discover and improve upon these fundamentals.
During the period in time of my life, the world was facing many challenges with the adjustment of this way of contemplation. Disagreement, hate and most of all, fear of the unknown, were reasons for war breaking out through the world. The world was in a state of confusion because of misunderstanding. Unfortunately, this is what we seem to be facing at the present time. There is presently much turbulence in the Middle East in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, and in Israel which I have a personal interest in. (In 1952 I was offered the presidency of Israel, which I declined and I was also offered many awards from my home country of Germany, which I also declined in protest of their attempt at genocide.)
"I am opposed to force under any circumstances, except when confronted by an enemy who pursues the destruction of life as an end in itself," which brings up a problem about terrorism. Terrorism is something that a small group is brought to do because of their lack of representation. So, am I for the utter destruction of terrorists? This question cannot be fully confirmed. In many situations it is difficult to tell whether terrorism is a cause or effect of society. In this acausal world, who is to say whether one is right or wrong? When a wrong is done, who is to say that another wrong was not done to precede that wrong? Or who is to say that another wrong did not precede the one that was said to be the original?
This type of exploration of time space is now recognized and examined through 20th century literature. In these works the reader is faced with questions such as: What came first the plague or the panic? Or: In "God Dies By the Nile" was the act of saving the family a punishment or reward? Or: Does Israel deserve the land for persecution or deserve the persecution for the land. Well, for the case of Israel, I was there at the beginning of it all, and I am opposed to any breaking up of the country because I know the true reason for there being an Israeli state. Although on the contrary, I have always been a strong supporter of Jewish Palestinian amity. Therefore even though I am strongly against any type of terrorist acts, I am empathetic to what Palestinians are fighting for. "It is unattainable for many, to understand the few ideas to which I have with my feeble powers attained through ceaseless struggle" of life. "My passionate sense of social justice and social responsibility has always contrasted oddly with my pronounced lack of need for direct contact with other human beings and human communities. I am truly a lone traveler and have never belonged to my country, my home, my friends, or even my immediate family, with my whole heart; in the face of all these ties, I have never lost a sense of distance and a need for solitude " Having everyone against you. Being the minority and having only few who share your belief, are all things that I have in common with Osama Bin Laden and many terrorists.
As an early supporter of the United Nations, I have been convinced that the solution to international conflict is world law, world government, and a strong world police force. Is this Americas job? No, to metal in others affairs when there is little interest is not right. Only when attacked was it made their responsibility.Therefore I do support a unified world under world peace, but the problem I am now faced with, from reading books such as Jihad vs. McWorld, is that this unified world in many cases produces a homogeneous one, in which things such as individuality and imagination are being corrupted because of the need to unify. Even though we are scared for our lives we must be sure not to allow our freedoms to be taken away. We must not allow the higher powers to turn us into one worldwide-homogenized group without any rights for individuality because of military power, which is a reason that I do have empathy for the terrorists. "This topic brings me to that worst outcrop of herd life, the military system, which I abhor This plague-spot of civilization ought to be abolished with all possible speed. Heroism on command, senseless violence, and all the loathsome nonsense that goes by the name of patriotism how passionately I hate them!". Therefore it is hard to say what I feel about terrorism since it is not particularly military. Now even though I appreciate and applaud what firefighters, EMTs and policemen did, I loath the "Heroism on Command" that is the product of the plague we call the military. Even though the United States must do something in reaction to September 11th, it must not go back to its old ways when it was in the cold war. Many times in my history I had been against the United States in its cold war efforts The spying, sabotage and secrecy only makes the world a crueler and less peaceful place to live in.
If it werent for my colleagues, friends and all of the antagonists in my life, I would not have been the man I am now. Friends such as Michele Besso, who in my opinion was "the best sounding board in Europe," or the group of intellectuals in the academic world that were called "the Olympia Academy" were very influential to my life. I even owe very much to some journalists who would exaggerate the incomprehensibility of my theory, claiming that only a genius could understand it. All of these people I hope will take an example from my life to show that we should consider the search for the impossible as a symbol for thought at its highest. Without these people I would have had a much more difficult time perceiving the things that I have contemplated.
The relationship I had with Michele might be similar to one I might have with Alan Lightman if I were to meet him now. Something intriguing I find in Lightmans works are the continuing references to time and light in his books and the titles. The mans name even has the word LIGHT in it. I believe that we would get along because I respect the fact that neither Lightman nor I have "seldom taken the same path twice". I was pleased to read that Lightman captured myself an my ideas in a humanistic setting, rather than placing myself and my ideas on a pedestal above what is now real. As Jane Schreck stated " After all break us down to our smallest elemental bits and we are atomic particles and the spaces between the particles." I am not sure though why Lightman decided to write about my dreams. Was it because I profoundly touched the way authors now percieve and bring to life the realities of time space?
The way I feel about Jihad and McWorld is like a lemon would feel. I believe that the two are suffocating society in the ways that neither of them promotes much individuality. In a Jihad society the culture is repressed and are not allowed to challenge the leaders. Examples of repression of the world of Jihad are in "God Dies by the Nile" or are the Taliban and how they did not give freedom to their citizens to learn and explore the differences in the world. I compare a Jihad way of life, to one of the Middle Ages, where anyone who challenged the church would be arrested for heresy. For the society of McWorld, I see humanity becoming one homogenized body in which the type of person you are is viewed through the sign values of the products you consume. This homogenized culture additionally portrays a boundary of impossibility when facing the power of a global entity. The homogenization leaves little or no reason or room for the individuality and freedom needed to discover and contradict what is generally accepted. "It is almost a miracle that modern teaching methods have not yet entirely strangled the holy curiosity of inquiry; for what this delicate little plant needs more than anything, besides stimulation, is freedom." With marketing methods of McWorld dictating what we wear, eat, and do with their 101 choices of what to wear, eat and do, McWorld is just as constraining as Jihad. They either let you know that they dictate the led by force, or they do it behind your back by metacommunicating and becoming cynics themselves just to show the cynic that they understand. I have no answer for how politics should function and how to enforce liberty "But the led must not be coerced, they must be able to choose their leader. In my opinion, an autocratic system of coercion soon degenerates; force attracts men of low morality... The really valuable thing in the pageant of human life seems to me not the political state, but the creative, sentient individual, the personality; it alone creates the noble and the sublime, while the herd as such remains dull in thought and dull in feeling. "
So can ying and yang, man and woman, heaven and hell or Jihad and Mcworld, explain life? How they are completely opposite and independent of each other but are not able to function independently without the other. Physics attempts to prove that life can be explained in the most general but fundamental equation; attempting to prove that there are the laws that the universe is built upon. Physics attempts to prove that life is an extremely intricate math equation But, paradoxically says that it is so general that it can be explained in a simple equation. Can human beings be explained by the most general and simple but complex pattern? One like an equation that is equal on both sides but in fact is the complete opposite and inverse on each side. Is a person defined as liberal or conservative, too flamboyant or sensibly grounded, and will the world ever really be able to agree on a way of world peace. This is something I ponder in my own world. For all of the people who, think of new ways to improve, are intent on doing good their fellow man, have love for a cause, have a home to protect, feel grief for a fallen comrade; is there someone who thinks the opposite? Will there be a constant dialectic going on for all eternity? One thing I am sure of is that the answer to the question is another question, and no matter how advanced we become there is NO EXIT.
It could be said that Einsteins Dreams is one of the best books of the 20th century. But I feel that it is more about the new scientific paradigm of the 20th century. My ideas brought about the realization that there might not be just one physical reality. The authors of these novels show that they are aware that the use of language is able to transform the characters into their own particular space and time. I personally hope that my discoveries will be evidence to societies of the future, that we should embrace the possibility of change and not punish or keep secret those with different beliefs or ideas, because who is to say whether or not their space time is rational or not . Through books such as Brave New World and Red Azalea, I have recognized and reinforced my belief that there are artificial barriers that are brought to us at an early age by being exposed to words like dont or not. Examples of artificial barriers are scientific laws. We should be taught not only to understand scientific laws, but also to challenge them with deep thought and insight. The best scientist is one who recognizes the uncertainty of the aesthetic world.
"The state exists for man, not man for the state. The same may be said of science. These are old phrases, coined by people who saw in human individuality the highest human value. I would hesitate to repeat them, were it not for the ever recurring danger that they may be forgotten, especially in these days of organization and stereotypes." In my belief Mcworld is constraining society. I do recognize the driving force of capitalism, however the globalization that has come along with it, is the phenomenon that, if not controlled itself by humanity, could result in a more powerful entity than we have ever imagined. And as the people we must be sure that our own government does not exploit our own advancement. "Concern for man himself must always constitute the chief objective of all technological effort -- concern for the big, unsolved problems of how to organize human work and the distribution of commodities in such a manner as to assure that the results of our scientific thinking may be a blessing to mankind, and not a curse."
For instance the media of television and computer. Should they be seen as wonderful tools of discovery and pioneering into a new world or as Postman sees them as mediums that only amuse us and require no interaction, and are basically taking the world out of our lives and putting it in a little box? "I have never looked upon ease and happiness as ends in themselves" "The trite objects of human efforts -- possessions, outward success, luxury -- have always seemed to me contemptible." We must be sure that we dont alow ourselves as a society to move into this realm. We must bes sure to use wonders of the human imagination as "a blessing to manking and not a curse." We must "Let every man be respected as an individual and no man idolized." And finally "Whoever does not know the mysterious- and can no longer wonder, no longer marvel, is as good as dead, and his eyes are dimmed."
When I was young I would have dreams. In these dreams I would be alone at night, in a large open field, away from the filth and overcrowding of any type of civilization. The only thing lighting my way would be the moon and the stars. My father would suddenly appear standing next to a telescope. I would look through the telescope and suddenly I was on a large spinning ride that revolved around another large pendulum, which also was veering around another more giant sphere . Then I would wake up. I would run to my father and tell him.
My father was an astronomer. Well, actually he was a shoemaker, but he wanted to be an astronomer.
I would tell my father about my dreams and ideas. I would tell him that I wanted to explore more than what Mao told me to. I wanted to be free to be an astronomer like he wanted to be, and find new ways to help my people. My father told me never to tell anyone this, and that I should just put it out of my mind.
I was an exceptional student. Although I wasnt the best at tests, I excelled in math, science, and was an organizer of the Student Mao Club. Through those years I had seen many people been denounced as capitalist swine, and had seen their lives become worthless. Some people would just jump off the peak of the mountain and end it right there. I learned to understand what my father had told me when I was a child.
When I was 18 I was committed to the Red Fire Farm. I would go out to the fields and bread my bones, my flesh and my soul. I would go back to my tent, get eaten alive by bugs, wake up and do it again the next day. It was an endless cycle.
As time went by I would start having my dreams again. My troop had begun to get extremely competitive and I began to excel, but I told no one of my dreams. My troop leader Besso seemed to me as an exceptional person with a perfect character. The second in command, Loo, had the character of a snake, and would slither on his belly just to catch someone committing treason.
One night Besso and I were alone and he told me that he had the need to leave the farm and be free. This was my scariest moment in the history of the camp. I wanted to tell him the same, but I didnt know if he was trying to trick me. I would later become very intimate with Besso. We would go out in the field all day and at night we would explore each others brains. We each loved the others mind. We would expose our big wrinkly bulging brains and caress each others thoughts all night long. Loo started to suspect something and would always be on the prowl to sabotage Besso and I. Then came the race for space against America. They had sent a man to the moon and our country was in a panic to get one of our own into the atmosphere. This was my chance to be free, to explore and ponder, but with Loos continuous sabotaging, it would be impossible for me to succeed. Later on Besso and I were in the mess hall and he pulled a ruffi out of his pocket. He slipped it into Loos egg drop soup. I looked at him but he gave me a stern look and I knew not to say anything. That night Loo was stripped by somebody, dressed in makeup and a fluffy ballerina skirt, and tied around the flagpole in the middle of the courtyard.
By age 25 I accomplished getting myself in the space program with CHASA, and it was the first time I was able to stimulate my thoughts in freedom. By the age of 26 I began to contemplate my theory. I left CHASA for days, traveling back to the Farm and my house, becoming inspired by all of the strong people that I would help with my discovery. On the morning of June 28th I sat in my office once again dreaming. But this time my dream was finished, I understood what it meant and I was ready to share it with the world. The light creeped in through the window and I ran to my commanders office to show him my work. They accused me of treason against Mao and told me that my ideas were against the dreams of the empire. I was quietly taken into a large field that night and hung. At the age of 26 my world was one where we were all mosquitoes. Flying through the air, longing to fulfill a primal urge, SPLAT, gone.
Brave New World
The book Brave New world is an interesting rendering of time and space similar to that which time is the present. There is no past or future, but only now. There is no wait or struggle associated with the fulfillment of a primal urge, to be happy, satisfied or content. Can this story be a prediction of the world to come in terms of genetic manipulation and cloning, or globalization and the homogenation of a culture? I truly hope not. What a pity to a society which there would be no freedom of thought. This type of world would make such things as freedom and individuality an extinct species. Although this utopian society was free of such things as war, poverty, hunger and crime in general, it is the freedoms of liberty that are lost that should be the focus of the attention. The problem that we now face on this earth is that which our technology controls us rather than us controlling our technology, for the sake of well being for humanity. To give an example I will use my personal situation. The discovery that I had made for mankind was used to make the atomic bomb. This was not what I meant for it to be used for, but the ones in power twisted it for their own gain. And we now face the problem that with the touch of a button our world could be over.
So I think that it is interesting to say that science was being used for such prosperity that everyone is united and at peace. Hypnopaedic teaching was the tool that unlearned the soul; all of the things that science cant explain which we now put religion in place of.
God Dies by the Nile
In this world time is banned or time is a crime. This is where it is against the law for a father to remember his daughter who was taken away from him when she was just a baby. It is a crime for a daughter to remember the days before she was raped and treated like shit, when she was no longer a human being. To think of the days when she roamed free and was able to come home to her fathers arms every night and feel safe is no longer real. Some decide to steal that memory; that thought. Some get away with it, but others get sloppy, they get caught in their memory. When that happens, the people who control and enforce time get their hands on them. The people who own time have funny names like mayor and governor and senator and president. They are the ones you see that are always up in high places and you never know if theyre watching you. They are the ones responsible for the woman who was once a little princess to now be a monotonous, boring, emotionless, bowl of oatmeal. All the girl wants is to be happy. She wants to be free, to be with the people she loves, to work for the people she cares for. She wants to be in a place that she makes a difference, rather than being no more than a cow. There is no freedom in this world because if the people were allowed to have freedom they would drive themselves into extinction. Therefore the people who own time dictate what is done because they know best for the people, they know what will make them happy.