I am just the generation, at 34 years old, to still be surprised by internet technology. Still, somehow a world of Googleing, Blogging , Twittering and Facebooking makes sense to me, as I tend to have rather jumbled thoughts, and interests. I like jumping from topic to topic, and even more I like trying to connect seemingly unrelated ideas and disciplines. It is similar to the “Six Degrees of Separation” theory of human connectivity. The same shorter sequence of connections must also exist with thoughts, and experiences. So, when I speak of two things that seem to have nothing to do with each other, the truth is they probably don’t, but it is still interesting to make the connection, and for me to see if there is any insight to be gained.
Last night I saw the play “Impressionism”, which, while likely to be forgotten (if the reviews are any indication), and though it is fairly unoriginal, it did make me think about perspective. The play deals with life and art in a way which is rather cliché, with metaphors that involve impressionist painting and real life complexity. Reflections on the need to step back to see the beauty and meaning, which the eye can not perceive when viewed too closely. It went a little further with this thought by saying that even photorealism is in itself impressionistic. It is a moment as captured by the photographer and interpreted by the viewer. The main point was to compare this to a growing love of an older couple, which is not so important to me here. So, when I left the theatre, I was neither overly impressed by “Impressionism”, nor unimpressed. It was a well acted play that again made me think about art and love, even if only in fairly commonplace ways.
This morning, after reading the reviews of “Impressionism” on the subway, I read the cover story of this month’s Scientific American. I was especially intrigued by the sub title of an article on Dark Energy which reads “Does Earth occupy a very unusual place in the Universe?”. The issue of Dark Energy and our inability to as yet accurately view it, or understand it, is an interesting one, but one that was less related to my recent experience with the play. More important is one of perspective. It has, as long as modern science has been in existence, been understood that from anyplace in the Universe the same laws of physics will apply. This has been especially well observed in recent years with accurate measurements of the microwave background. The research for this article suggests however that the place our planet resides may be unusual in the Universe. It may be in a void of sorts. It is nicely compared to a balloon, with rubber whose densities are not completely uniform. The bubble will have bumps, which do not conform to the rest of the sphere. Our Universe may, though it is still uncertain, be like this. Therefore to see ourselves as a part of the whole, our perspective would be unlike if we were viewing Earth from a far away galaxy, which may be in a different portion of the “balloon”. This is not to suggest that Physics is subjective in the same way that the Universe is. After all, there are laws, and fundamentals, even if we have not yet learned them all. The similarity though, in my mind, is the need to take a step back in order to see the truth. Maybe by doing this we can learn a little more about the big picture of the cosmos, as well as how to enjoy a night on Broadway.