Saturday, June 15, 2013

Signs, portents and frames of reference

It is the best of times, it's the worst of times and if you're like Glen Beck; if you're like nearly every blathering godsmitten idiot in the last few thousand years, it is always the end of times. There are always signs, always comets, always wars and rumors thereof -- earthquakes, storms, floods and droughts. There are always famines and pestilences, always cause to go to the mountaintop to await or dress in purple and take poison for the magic trip to the mother ship.  If Jesus said the end times would be during the lives of his followers, it's no contradiction.  There are always plenty of  editors, redactors and other verbal shell-game operators to redefine and revise the prophecy to suit the game.

Someone smart once said that if we live only in the moment, there is no difference between falling and flying and if we've read Einstein we know that truth is a matter of the frame of reference you occupy. If your idea of "the world" is the Mediterranean, the Roman Empire, the end of it means one thing.  If you mean the Universe, a mid 20th century concept of something incomprehensibly larger, the importance of things like coveting your neighbors' ass or eating a Philly cheese steak becomes hard to see or justify as is the importance of anything that concerns a peculiar, transitory trick of chemistry on an infinitesimal dust mote we call life.

But the Grand Wazir of Beckistan said yesterday on his radio show that  the Book of Mormon is "really a calendar" and perhaps like the Mayan Calendar, accurately predicts the end of all things.  It's a level of rank stupidity that, like the size of the universe itself, utterly defies any attempt at analogy.  He told his staff a long time ago, he said yesterday, that if he mentioned that book, it meant "we are at the end."  It's the "Story of America" he said, but a story of things that never happened, cities that never were and people who aren't who it says they are and a story written by a charlatan with a demonstrated history of fraud.

But of course although each Plank length of time (tP) the smallest possible interval according to quantum mechanics, is the end of something, it's not likely the end of anything we would notice -- like the end of Glen Beck.  It's not likely the end of the US government nor either political party, nor is it yet the moment of the "within 24 hour" predicted whistleblower he talked about earlier this week to an audience whose memory of world begins anew every morning

In a frame of reference where such a length is significant, not only are falling and flying indistinguishable, beginnings and ends are a bit meaningless in a frame that includes weeks and days and hours and indeed, human events.  In the frame of reference where the stupid dwell, where anyone would credit anything Beck might utter, a report of cannibalism, although at least as old as the Neanderthalers, is so unique as to mean impending cosmic calamity.  The Book of Mormon, like the Bible (only harder to read with a straight face) and many other religious texts inhabit a frame of reference so at odds with the physical universe and its properties and dimensions that talking animals magic fruit and other things and events that never existed abound,  can be and always are used to frighten us to the profit of prophets. 

"We are living in Biblical Times" Beck tells us; a statement hard to decipher since the last ravings of the Christian versions end sometime in the late first century, but of course there we have another blurry, woozy, foggy and crepuscular magic frame of reference where nothing really has much to do with anything outside of it; where nothing is true and all things are true and words have power.  No offense intended to individual Mormons, but the book in question is hardly a calendar unless it be for a universe that never existed, inconsistent with the observable universe and inconsistent internally -- just like the Bible and Quir'an and others  which speak of imminent calamities and events and places that are pure fiction.

Pure fiction, just like Becks mysterious 'whistle-blower.'  Predictions of the impossible based on things with no significance selected for the purpose. Concepts like the end of time are far beyond science at the moment.  We don't know when life will end, but the end of stupidity might just be as far off.  There are signs.

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