Don’t Light A Match


  Well, news from CERN has it that there are particles moving faster than the speed of light.  Sounds like a big deal given E=MC2 and all of that.  However, reading through the blogs, it seems that Einstein’s theory already allowed for neutrinos of the “Tachyonic” sort to exist always at faster than light. 

  Dang complicated though and they’d not theretofore been detected. Guess we’ll have to wait for review of the evidence to see what, if anything, new was discovered.  But don’t you wonder where this stuff comes from in the first place though?  Scientific insights I mean? Here’s what erstwhile Princeton Psych Prof Julian Jaynes had to say about it:

  “The picture of a scientist sitting down with his problems and using conscious induction and deductions is as mythical as the unicorn.  The greatest insights of mankind have come more mysteriously.  The literature is full of insights which have simply come from nowhere.*”  Said Einstein of his theory: “Suddenly the happiest thought of my life came to me”.  And “Why is it that I get my best ideas in the morning while I’m shaving?”

  Insights come when you stop thinking about the problem.  For example, years ago friends and I were encamped upon a glacier dreaming of first ascents up in the Interior Ranges of BC.  A storm set in and held us down for days.  One member of our party never left his tent and became more morose by the day.  Seriously depressed after several. 

  “We’re gonna die” he’d wail from inside his tent.  The situation wasn’t pleasant, but wasn’t that serious either.  Finally I decided to stick my head in and try to assuage his fears only to be nearly overcome with horrible odor of freeze-dried frijoles begotten methane.

  “Hey man” I said to him in recoil, “get the hell out of there and breathe some fresh air before you get really sick.  You got something muy bad goin’ on in there.  Don’t light a match.  Seriously.”  He moaned a bit, I persisted, and soon he emerged. 

   Five minutes later he was smiling.  Storm hadn’t broken, but his head was clear and he offered a few suggestions for elegant new routes of which no one had yet thought and which ended up years later with multiple stars in a guidebook.  Same here.  My best ideas always come  shazam while breathing outside air.

*From his Origins of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind – to which I’ve previously and frequently referred.

**Gotta be honest.  I came up with some of this while perusing two books that’ll I’ll shortly wrap and give as birthday gifts:

The Courage to Create by Rollo May and Confronting the Quantum Enigma by David J. Kreiter.  And dang if, since I just bought them yesterday, I’m not going to have to go out and buy again for myself.

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