Friday, May 9, 2008

Einstein's Black Hole

Einstein, a man much smarter than most (everyone?), long ago indirectly predicted that mankind would paint itself into an inescapable corner; however, he had too much pity on our feeble minds to let us in on his secret.

The trace of this secret however, can be found embedded in this profound and omniscient quote of his that I stumbled on recently:

"The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them"

So let me get this straight, what this means is that the substantial problems we have created (as a result of short-term, ass-backward thinking) can't be solved until we evolve enough as human beings so that we can address our problems at the root cause? You mean evolution? Isn't that a slow process? Don't we first have to convince 80% of the population that evolution even exists/is possible? And what about nuclear proliferation, global warming, peak oil, mass poverty? Can we at least find someway to slow these down a bit? i.e. long enough for us to learn how to stand upright and stop dragging our knuckles on the ground? I have an idea, let's start with a "quick win" by getting that undereducated, underqualified Chimpanzee out of the White House.

Here's another thought, maybe we can figure out the theory of relativity and then we could time travel to the future, solve our problems and then jump back to the present with the solution. Unfortunately, here is another thing Einstein didn't want us to know: basic logic indicates that the news on time travel is not good. Either Einstein was full of bullshit and time travel is not possible, or human beings don't exist in the future; because if both of those were true, then we would already see people today who had come back from the future. Don't get me wrong, I am not questioning Einstein, I am therefore left to assume that human beings don't exist very far into the future.

Always the pragmatist, I personally don't think that our thorniest problems have anything to do with lack of knowledge, even though I am the first to admit that we face daily whithering attacks of disinformation, denialism, mass-commercialization and other forms of human retardation. No, I think we have more than enough knowledge if we know where to look for it -say the library (as opposed to the boob tube); instead, what we inherently lack is the DISCIPLINE to use the knowledge that we already have. Take the obesity epidemic as just one example. We know what's good for us and bad for us, but we don't act on that information. We even stand by as multinational corporations fatten our children with toxic waste (fast food) and then lie to ourselves that it's a burnt offering at the divine altar of "consumer choice". It has nothing to do with consumer choice, it has to do with base instinct. We are no different than dogs shamelessly fucking on the middle of the lawn, we can't help ourselves.

There was a story 10 years ago in the news that a group of scientists (I believe in New York) were trying to create anti-matter (i.e. the material that makes up black holes) in a laboratory setting. At first this set off a firestorm of concern within the scientific community that this was a dangerous and irresponsible experiment with an uncertain outcome. Some predictions were so dire as to believe that this experimental anti-matter (the heaviest known substance in the universe) might fall through the laboratory floor and quickly descend to the core of the earth where it would eventually consume our entire planet, solar system and galaxy. In other words some believed that this experiment would create a real black hole. Finally, that led to the theory that that's how all black holes have been created in the universe i.e. by humanoid life forms reaching their logical and predictable ending via an experiment that had unintended terminal consequences.

So, I will paraphrase Einstein's quote, since he was too polite to come out and say it himself: the basic underlying problem we face (beyond being like dogs on the lawn) is that we human beings, as a race, are too stupid to realize how stupid we are.

The Eye of the Hurricane

We are in the eye of the hurricane right now.

The birds are chirping, the sky is blue, it is eerily calm.

The stock market is rallying off the March low, thanks to Bernanke's umpteenth market intervention i.e. the Bear Stearns bailout. It's a ragged, low volume, narrow (breadth) rally, but enough to get the Wall Street Bulls believing that the next great Bull Market is well underway.

Just this week, Henry Paulson told us that the worst of the credit crisis has passed. We are told that even though the 'real' economy is getting worse (job losses/inflation/housing) that the financial markets have already priced in ('discounted') all of the bad news and are rallying in anticipation of the coming economic expansion. Listening to the perma-optimists you would believe that all debts have been paid, the trade deficit has been eliminated, both wars have ended, oil is plentiful, the housing market has stabilized, inflation has been tamed i.e. it's a 'Goldilocks' economy - not too hot, not too cold.

So if you STILL trust your elected officials (Bush & Co.) and their over-rated-Wall Street-country-club-advisors (i.e. Paulson), then by all means you too should indulge your denialistic fantasies. I will take a pass thanks, as I am not inclined to believe the ever-sunny predictions of those who didn't foresee this crisis in the first place.

Getting back to the hurricane analogy, it's the front of the hurricane that weakens the structure, but it's the back of the hurricane that destroys it.

If I am right, Papa Bear is on his way home.