It is dazzling enough to live with the knowledge that everything around us — the fiery cardinal that evolved from the T-rex, the blooming daffodil that traded its sallow brown-green for blazing yellow to attract the primordial pollinators, the human eye millennia in the lensing, the eye that now beholds these wonders and inhales them into a consciousness endowed with the triumphal capacity for being wonder-smitten — is a livingin the making. Now consider living with the knowledge that it is not only the changelog of the past but also the pre-composed code of the future.
I consider this one April afternoon, sitting in a Brooklyn garden just coming alive with bud and bee, as I listen to aelectric,c with enthusiasm about exploring the radical mathematical implication that the universe might be autodidactic — that the fundamental forces, rather than abiding by the static and predictable laws we have so far discerned, might be the evolving self-perpetuating algorithms of the ultimate learning machine. These algorithms began as simple principles and went on to continually revise and elaborate on themselves, not unlike biological evolution is constantly revising and elaborating on life. The fundamental poem, composing itself.
In detailing the physics behind this model, Stephon skips no beat honoring one of his great heroes, on whose shoulders thisstands: Richard Feynman (May 11, 1918–February 15, 1988), whose Nobel-winning work on quantum electrodynamics laid the foundation of quantum computing and its promise of enlisting phenomena like entanglement and superposition in computing the previously incomputable.
Feynman — physicist,, , — belonged to that rare species of the scientist who reverenced the elemental poetics of reality in lyrical prose, who composed what may be and and saw the poetic I of his human self as ” His science and spirit come alive afresh in a stunning prose poem titled “Richard P. Feynman Lecture: Intro to Symmetry” from the slender and splendid ( ) by A. who reverences the elemental science of reality.
Love begins in the streets with vibration and endsin jealousy. Creation and destruction. What do we pray for but the equation that helps us understand what happens daily? What do we believe in if not that which tells us we’re alive? Sex, laughter, sweat, and equations are elegant enough to figure on our fingers. . You don’t believe in math? figure out the velocity of Earth’s orbit around the Sun to land a man on the Moon without it.
You don’t believe in God? Use math to calculate what the eye does. It couldn’t if that differential equation in our lifetime. Mysteries inside mysteries in our bodies of which we can’t make sense, another world waiting for religion or calculus to explain. Look into any mirror; it’s like sitting in a , but you’re the one pantomiming your story. You think you have this figured out, but you can’t tell which hand you’re using and using and using. And why do we try?
We try, of course, because curiosity is the true triumph of consciousness; what Einstein called” is the hallmark of our species. We comprehend by parsing the world into categories and classes, constantly computing the distances and differences. This, it , is a beautiful impulse — to contain the infinite in the finite, to wrest order from the chaos, to construct a foothold so we may climb toward higher truth — but it is also a limiting one, a dangerous one, nowhere more so than in the artificial binaries we create in trying to orient ourselves by differentiation.
With an eye to the limiting binaries of our Cartesian inheritance, and perhaps with an eye to— which every artist cannot but factor into their cosmogony —Jordan writes:
You cannot left and Y number of clicks back to the right and back past and back past till the latch clicks open in your mind.this by using one side of the body over the other so no single voice emits from it. You cannot solve for the harmonics of a dual body, facing each other, both inquisitive. You cannot solve the marriage of opposites, their fit, match, andr endlessness. You cannot decrypt the morning stretch that calls to both sides, first this one, then that one, aligning the day. You cannot solve for the bass of one hand and the treble of the other, beeping rhythm hostage under the skin of the bongo. You cannot solve for the balance of a locked door and a safe cracker’s ear against it, and the move X number of clicks to the
Complement this fragment of Jordan’s thoroughly wonderful— which imagines the inner lives and animating forces of Einstein, Schrödinger, and other titanic scientific minds who have revolutionized our understanding of external reality — with Feynman on and his after the death of his young wife, then revisit Ursula K. Le Guin on .