Wednesday, 16 January 2008

Isadora's Brain

An informative, if slightly bizarre article in the NY Times yesterday makes the point that, the way we (err..when I say we I mean cosmologists actually)comprehend the universe at the moment gives rise to some pretty weird scenarios.

All those brains the NYT have floating around in that article is a give-away that the author, like most of us, doesn't really get it. Boltzmann's Brains are just symbolic of the notion that, in a universe of infinite possibilities, all things are possible, including naked brains floating through the cosmos. In fact, such weirdness outnumbers the probability of 'normal' configurations (read: you and I) by an infinitude-to-one. Obviously.

Now, I'm not saying that this is not how the universe is set up.
What I would like to say, however, is that if I ever do find myself in space surrounded on all sides by uncovered lumps of grey human tissue, I'll know for sure that I've lost the plot. So Boltzmann's Brains do have their uses.

Once in the Full Moon’s gleam as I lay in dream
Came the Lady to my chamber
In earthly form like woman born
All Time, all Space lay in Her face
I rose to Her embrace, O
I rose to Her embrace

Last night as I was composing myself for sleep, I was overtaken by the grisly notion that I was trapped inside a quivering mass of soft tissue and hard bone. I felt almost paralysed by the fear that I was incarnate and imprisoned. It's not a fear I've ever entertained before. I could see that following this thought would probably end in insanity, so I tried womanfully to lose the thought and eventually succeeded.

So queenly was She, I fell to my knee
And bent my brow to Her, O
“O no!” said She, “Kneel not to Me
But stand! Arise! Open your eyes!
It is yourself you see, O
Yourself you see in Me!”

This morning as I was riding to work down the highway, I considered what a silly notion that was, and an even sillier fear. It was quite obvious to me, in the growing light of dawn and the rushing roar of traffic, that whatever it is I am, it is not contained in a few kilos of meat atop my shoulders. If anything, the thing I call me when I'm at home appears to be situated in a corona extending maybe half a metre from my physical body.

But that's not really neither here nor there -it's likely an incorrect feeling caused by my position in spacetime.

Come, Witches, as before, to the Shining Door
Fear not to fling it open!
Fear not to see the Mystery:
That we are Pan and fair Dian
And evermore shall be, O
And evermore shall be!

Realising our true natures, we will never want to hurt ourselves anymore.

Stunning lyrics from the music of The Lady Isadora going through my this morning.