So it happened that I picked up a book on theoretical physics (one of the intuitive ones). The inspiration was to once and for all make up my mind about nature of ‘time’. The book took me by surprise, giving lucid explanations and illustrations at every juncture. Every attempt was made to confine math to the notes at the end of the book.
And I read and read and fell in love with it. Classical mechanics, then relativity and then quantum and then cosmology.. the fields were so interlinked and yet so distinct. I’ve covered more than half of it and and have felt thoroughly enriched by the subject matter. In fact I’ve a few insights of my own – now thanks to the physicist of all centuries. I will now present them without further ado.
The first and most important lesson to learn for all academia and general public is: always maintain a healthy skepticism for what a physicist proposes. Chances are high that his theory will be wiped out in next 100 years. Consider Newton, modern physics has torn his work apart. At times I pity him. I think he would’ve been better off had he left the problem of apple falling alone. To invent the theory and equations only to discover 300 years later that gravitational force can also be negative after all. Also think of what we go through as a consequence of these formulations.. we read Newton only to find that his ideas were not complete and some of them wrong, come to Einstein get the same thing, move on ahead and start doubting what we actually mean by any term in physics (acceleration, pressure, time!) and to top it all, come across Higgs Field and say ‘oh well, vacuum after all might be permeated by ether like substance’. I think it would be useful to make a list of 1. what world knew/thought before Newton 2. what have been the theories after Newton 3. which have been negated so far 4. what do we know finally for sure and match 1 to 4. That I think would be a relevant contribution of physics to mankind.
To sugar-coat a thrust for technological intervention and domination of nature at all levels as a search for truth is the same as using mystical and hope-rendering idea of God to control the ‘herds’. Why to priests do we give our faith and to physicist our money? Because the former guarantees luxury after death while the latter makes life on Earth itself rich and luxurious.
Though I wouldn’t doubt the intentions of physicist. I’m just looking at the real value and purpose of their profession. For all I care there might really be present in some of them the flame, the ‘will’ to truth.
As for me, I’m still confused about time.