Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Why isn’t nature the way the rules want it to be

(This is just plain experimental doodling on a random topic, so don't look for anything in particular....that's the subject topic anyway!)

A recent development in the field of science has been at the CERN experiment on particles traveling faster than the speed of light.  “…this can’t be happening” was the initial reaction and they did the experiment again two months later. With the same result.  If true, this has broken the back of several thousand Ph.D., called into question several related developments in science and the text books in schools will have to be re-written. Only the last will have a strong support base…new books, more sales,  more royalties…wow! Business Opportunity!

The speed of light experiment features prominently a sub-atomic particle called the “neutrino”. It does not have an electrical charge, resembles more closely an electron and  not affected by strong physical forces (gravity etc).  This is the guy that’s taken an approach that says  “to hell with the speed of light limit, I’m just going faster because I want to”.  The Mr India particle, you can’t see it..!  In case you think Mr India is small stuff, there’s about 65 billion of these shooting through matter on earth per second per square centimeter from the Sun’s rays!

More than a decade ago, a sheep called Dolly was cloned. To cut to the chase, a very important item as a result of this fell through the cracks on the public debate. Ie. You didn’t need a male cell to contribute to the reproduction of life! Dolly’s mom had the relevant cells extracted from her arm (..there’s some technical name, but lets stay with this for now)

Plenty of philosophy from around the globe takes a beating because of this.  

The part that’s caught the public eye and political spectrum is human cloning and the resultant reactions are around two themes:

     The conspiracy theory mob that says “what if that means more versions around of…
     A.      Ted Bundy;
     B: Adolf Hitler;
     C: Osama Bin Laaden  (tick suitable box)
     D. Kevin Costner in “The Bodyguard” or Salman Rushdie’s “Guide to simple English” (couldn’t resist that, but you can make up your own option on this!)

-         The other group is the touchy-feely mob “how will a child react to know that (s)he is an exact replica of another human being “.   Ask any group of teenagers if they’d like to be a clone of their parent(s), the jury will be in pretty quickly with a unanimous decision.

The part that’s getting to the public eye now is organ growing. The cloning experiment established that cells can be reprogrammed to grow new organs – simply put you didn’t need cells from your arm to regrow an arm, it could be from anywhere else. Like it or not, we’re well on our way to a society where we can conceivably have department stores selling organ transplants like mobile phones…”hey, you got a problem with your lungs?  Let’s just replace it…SpairBags – Your second wind! Original Japanese technology with lifetime warranty plus with ActiveZ inside for fresh breath, always!”

There are some parallels in life, that I wanted to toss around:

1.      The people who pushed out on these scientific endeavors didn’t care about the rule books. By the existing logic of the time, they’re crazy. Crazy people shouldn’t be believed, but look what’s happened? It’s the crazy people who create the quantum breakthroughs in the way life functions – imagine a guy with a walking stick taking on the might of an Empire that ruled one-quarter of the planet with “Mere paas sachaee hai” as his weapon. I’m pretty sure he’d get an “F” in Business Strategy at the world’s leading business schools.
2.      Defining limits through abstractions may be simplifying how nature and life works. Once you’ve measured it through such abstractions, you may be limiting the possibilities. If the speed of light isn’t an absolute limit, then Douglas Adams’ hitchhiker is now a real possibility.
3.      The Yogic Mr India particle – remains unaffected by physical forces prevalent and doesn’t have a charge + or -, ie., doesn’t take a position! This aids speed and ease of passage. A lot of philosophy I’ve grown up around, which is to suspend judgment as one of the building blocks of inner calm. It eases the passage of life.  

 Its easy to understand why nature doesn’t follow the rules. But just does its own thing. Its our desire to arbitrate knowledge and understanding, that creates the rule book on many things. Rule books are "guidelines" to an end, not an incontrovertible truth. 

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