God was in a particularly generous mood the day She designed our world. For the artists, She made it beautiful. For the romantics, She filled it with love. And for the scientists, She made it rich with order and logic. Everything in the universe was made to follow fixed laws, some simple, some more complex, some laws connecting things that are close in space and time, other laws that connect things in ways that are unconnected to space and time. She left some clues on the table, easy to discover, and some deep laws that would keep scientists busy for thousands of years. Science was to be a scavenger hunt that could last as long as civilization–maybe longer.
The First People guessed that things in the world worked the same way as they themselves. The Sun was a Man and the Moon was his wife. Rivers had wanderlust, the Wind had trouble making up its mind, and Everything wanted to go Downward toward the Earth because the Earth was their home.
After some millennia, the easiest quantitative clues were deciphered. They were easiest because they coupled things that were near to each other in space, and because the immediate past gave rise to the immediate future. After Sleuth Isaac discovered the Law of Large Things, in all its mathematical precision, People were able to design things that pushed and pulled, turned and rolled. The Age of Machines was born.
The Law of Small things was a tougher nut to crack, because it involved both connections that were close in space, and also connections that were a million miles away. Some causes worked conventionally, the past causing the future, and some paradoxically–causes in the future giving rise to effects the past.
Sleuth Erwin figured out the part that was close in space and conventional in time. Sleuth Werner declared that The Rest Is Uncertainty. Ordinary, nearby, and forward in time, plus Pure Randomness.
Sleuth Albert said, But God Doesn’t Play Dice (and he should know because he is the One Rock, and father to the Sleuths of Small Things. But a chorus of Quantum Mechanics put him in his place: Dice She pays, Oh yes! She does! Only after Albert was dead, did the Bell sound. DONG! This isn’t randomness. It just looks random to us because it comes from all over space, from the past and the future and everywhere at once. We call it random, because how can we trace all those pushes and pulls that haven’t even happened yet?
God smiled on The Bell. The scientists had just picked up the First Hard Clue, and Humans had begun to understand the Law of Small Things.
But Mostpeople kept saying Random. They couldn’t wrap their heads around an effect that comes after its cause. They couldn’t grok the Spooky Action at a Distance. Sleuth Albert rolled in his grave, causing the scientists that went before him to Not Understand.
If a Bell rings in a room full of deaf scientists, has it made a sound?
…to be continued.
Street Art by Max Pexels