An evening at the salon

6 July 2006

Went to a dinner last night at which I was one of the (if not the absolute) least educated person present. I could list the PhDs by type, but as those wouldn’t impress me on their own merits, I’ll just say that these are ferociously intelligent and aware people. Politically, intellectually, and socially. Also, the food was good. What more do you want?

Some day, I’m sure I’ll overcome my backwards, 20th century notions of not writing about specific private events on a public space, but I’m not there yet. For now, we’ll stick with one of the topics of discussion. Namely, how do you get people to believe stuff? The question was posed in the realm of politics: despite all that has gone wrong, why do people still place trust in the White House?

Later in the evening, the disucssion turned to physics. Particularly the notion of physical touch and how such a ‘concrete’ term can result from interactions between magnetic fields without pieces of matter actually impinging on each other. Sounds like the perfect place for a Heisenberg quote (IIRC) “Everything we consider to be real is made up of things we consider to be unreal.” I cite as my source the book Cosmic Banditos, though, so check me on that.

Anyway, if the aforementioned ferociously intelligent crowd will nod sagely and accept that their hands aren’t actually touching their forks in any accepted sense of that word, how can we fault anyone for believing anything?


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