Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Protestant competence

"What is the difference between a cathedral and a physics lab?

Are they not both saying Hello?"

Anyone reading here will not be surprised at my delight in finding Annie Dillard's quote.

I find physics at its best is God-haunted. It cathedrals me.

One of the most intriguing, innovative pushers of norms and forms circulating in scholarly physics is Joao Magueijo...the book jacket of his controversial "Faster Than the Speed of Light" begins by suggesting the book is nothing less than "how one brilliant young physist's heretical idea may dethrone Einstein and forever change the we see see the universe."

It's true.

And he's funny.

He's not afraid to go where his studies, research and imagination lead him; asking:

What if the very foundation of contemporary physics is wrong; the only thing Einstein was sure of?

Obviously, a huge word fto apply for church-and-culture thinkers.

On a lighter (?) note, he offers this "aside" (?), whose delightfully devestating last two words are worth the price of this "secular" book; and well worth dwelling on; that I might avoid accidentally incarnating them:

I have always felt there is happy and unhappy drinking. Like most Mediterraneans, I am a happy drinker, and a glass of good wine is simply part of the general enjoyment of life. Northern European drinking is more often than not unhappy drinking--phenomenally voluminious, aimed at erasing from your brain a dreary day full of Protestant competence. (143)

At first, I only had one response to those two words:


But then I realized:

Ironically, he just may be the Luther of physics.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Hey, thanks for engaging the conversation!