A recent issue of Science News featured marvelously detailed images of cellular division — images that recently would have been considered impossible, since cell structures are tinier and more delicate than the very light used to image them.
This is a familiar story, the impossible becoming possible. At the moment, following Feynman’s lead, all myopic eyes are on the micro-scale. Even Big Data mainly gets used to target small niches of humanity for advertising, votes, or drone strikes.
I hope I live to see a science of the human herd’s effect on itself. I want a science of the mystical. For example – why are people jinxes?
You know what I mean, even if science doesn’t. Stuff just doesn’t work around some people — computers, traffic, weather, getting to the movies on time. Those who try to compensate for these people wind up completely overboard in situations they would sail through any other day. And you know these people are jinxes. You just do.
You even know why. Some people are so misaligned with their best place in reality that they just cause problems, like a loose screw that fell out of your pocket and into your dryer. It’s not their FAULT, exactly, but the interplay between their certain knowledge of their position and the ornery passive-aggressiveness that got them into their position . . . well, you know what I mean.
But how does one explain it? How does one avoid it or cure it? How does one take the obvious from the realm of anecdote to the experimentally-validated approach of, say, cognitive-behavioral therapy? The interplay of humans with their environment, while obvious to those of us with some life under our belts, is so hard to quantify that it decoheres like quantum histories. A few odd alchemical stabs like the Global Consciousness Project — itself so woolly that I first heard about it from a world-class nerd over sushi and Kirin Ichibans at a nanotechnology conference, in the hushed tones of a ghost story — indicate there is something out there, but without theory we can’t experiment, lest we destroy (or simply mask) the very thing we’re looking for.
Maybe I shouldn’t complain. I write fiction, and until science figures things out, the ephemeral and questionable is my job. I am here to pretend to know, and possibly stumble upon, how humanity works. Know the joke about the economist on a desert island, opening cans of food by assuming a can opener? Works for me. Fiction illuminates the places we know but just can’t find, giving the smart and grounded a confidence to walk through the dark between here and there.
My next post will be a short piece from later in my novel that touches on these themes, just slightly.