Saturday, February 6, 2016

Cosmological Selfies

The prominent ✡theoretician Marcelo Gleiser, who took Brazilian nationality, British education, and American income, recently tweeted, "The more we know about the universe, the more unique we become. What we do with this knowledge is, of course, a personal choice for each of us. To have this choice is the privilege of being human." Such drivel is the ontological equivalent of taking a picture of oneself next to a celebrity as proof that you had a great vacation, on the order of, "Look, there's me and Sol! He is so down to Earth!!!"

The subtler form of the message is the hellish whisper, "You are alone. You are an asparagus-flavored burp in Oparin's purposeless void." Poor broken ✡Yahweh can't keep himself from jettisoning his trembling sperm across ✡National Public Radio every few months, futilely trying to stamp out any possible vestige of hope, whether it comes in the form of quiet grace or sober experimentation.

The Nihilist's Rally farce offers itself anew: "If you really don't care, why aren't you home on the couch?" I don't particularly mind a bunch of idiot priests crowing about their theoretical fantasies, but all of these science popularizers produce worse entertainment than the latest summer apocalypse movie, and their suits do nothing to distinguish them from Jon Leibowitz. For Christ's sake, at least throw on a mitre and hand out some dollar-store cookies. But then, maybe the blurring effect is the whole point. Infotainment is infotainment in the land where all metaphors are grafted together at birth.

Deeper philosophy aside, even if you did believe all the speaking-in-tongues that these non-applied non-scientists engage in, it has got to be embarrassing to see lengthy three-part specials about how the entire human population should be engaged in endless mirror-gazing. Mom, Mom, look at me: yes, we all know that ✡Facebook has been part of making such self-promotion axiomatically adult; NPR, though, works to make it not only adult, but the end-limits of the highest form of human investigation. Philosophy and physics statements reach the public in the essential form, "Looks at us." No longer do they even have to collectively pretend that they have found something to do a science featurette; instead, nothing more is in order than congratulating the audience for showing up. Attendance equals straight As, as it were. And all this merely because Earth's stunted atmospheric flight capability and digital communications arrays have not yet located extrasolar purple Amazons interested in both having unrestrained sex with space-speculating theoreticians, and exchanging a diplomatic copy of one of their seven-hour andartonal operas for a diplomatic copy of our Straight Outta Compton with the reviews printed on the case.



"Bzzzz...Quelldorfh? Why it has the makeurge to procure on object which already has I procured?"

"Bzzz...ogglizziminizzigaphooh...not sense conundrum I answer to this time have, Scallmar."

"Bzzzz...horaash...very well. Into device reading insert capability. We observe shall, Quelldorfh."

"We observe shall. Zzzllp..."

1 comment:

  1. Honestly, that's no way to denigrate a TED lecture or Sierra Nevada Talk. Just the other day a friend told me of a startling new revelation discovered in a TED lecture, and let me tell you, he was duly and trebly impressed. What more should be expected of such populist pseudo-intellectualism than an uninquisitive and uninformed populace being impressed by its fruits?

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