Since the previous post concerned quantum mechanics, I thought it apposite to do one on classical physics. It's not complicated. Strictly speaking there are several branches of physics: Newton's laws of motion, Lagrangian and Hamiltonian formalism, Maxwell's electrodynamics, thermodynamics and relativity etc. But once you get to thinking about quanta --to which size, distance and time are nearly meaningless-- everything outside of it is classical. Like classical music, it is not always easy to dance to but is less distracting and helps even me to think in our big everyday world.
This entry is hard for me to write because it's not inherently silly. I like being silly. I was raised by the silly and the silly prize love over all things. So when I reached the age of sentiment and fell in love, I kept notes. Consider this nearly 50-year-old poem:
In the sky, we
In moonlit leaves
We are the
I posted it in 2009 and friend Willie commented, "I like the rest of your poem after the title so much better than the traditional completion that Al gave us, mc squared."
By "Al", He was referring to Albert Einstein, who expressed his imagination in mathematics. I shall do so here: E= mc^2. E is for energy. "m" is for mass. "c" is for constant, which in this case is not a thing or idea but a velocity, the speed of light. "^", when used in mathematics on a limited keyboard like mine, is called a caret and indicates the next symbol is not a multiplier but an exponent-- in this case squared, ^2.
Every 14 year-old algebra student has probably tried to solve for m (because we are m). I did and it left me with a strange realization. Divide each side of the equation by c^2 and you get the last three lines of my old poem. Upshot is, if you want to define light, you have to use a velocity, and if you want to go the speed of light you have to be light. Light is made of photons.
We receive no information about the universe smaller than a photon.
Plants synthesize light. We eat plants. Animals eat plants and each other. We eat them. By a process of measured combustion, we grow and thrive, live our lives on energy from the stars. We weigh something in a gravitational field. We have mass, are mass. We are on both sides of the equation, and have the brains to know it. But do we know what we really need? Entrenched in a food and life cycle of devouring everything that doesn't devour us, burning with desire for love and acceptance, do we know? If we don't want this chaos of exploitation, nutrition and cognitive distortion, then what the heck do we want?
Danged if I know. Haven't really thought about it since I was a teenager. You?