I was led to look at a science paper titled “Dark energy from the string axiverse.” It’s about the development of our universe from its beginning. I want to talk about this for a while, in the interest of being timely. Don’t worry, we’ll still talk about Trump farther down the page.
The paper is by three scientists at Johns Hopkins. Now, honestly, I’m not really into how the universe got created. I look at it like my own conception. I’m fine just knowing it happened and here I am.
Never mind that. This article isn’t about the conception and birth of our universe, but about explaining the difference between how the universe was after its birth and how it appears now. This is something I can relate to. I’ve seen pictures of myself as a newborn baby, and I’ve seen myself in a mirror. The differences are astounding. Clearly something or someone got to me and messed me up.
Something else I can relate to: The physicists at Johns Hopkins think their ideas show that our universe isn’t as special as we’ve come to think of it.
Our universe is special, it’s said, because we exist (this notion is called the Anthropic Principle.) Estimates done with ballpoint pens on paper napkins in university cafeterias have indicated that only one universe in every 100,000… 000,000,000,000 (put 120 zeroes after the one) universes can have life in it advanced enough to make paper napkins and ballpoint pens and ask, “Why are we here?”
But these scientists think “a strange new energy field switched on” when the universe was young, which now causes the universe to expand more quickly than previously thought.
And they also come to the conclusion that this same phenomenon realigns the fundamental properties of the universe, in such a way that when you redo the napkin calculation you get 1 in 100 (“... given the distribution of axion masses and symmetry-breaking scales suggested by the string axiverse,” haha, whatever that means).
So our kind of universe, according to these scientists, could be much more common than we have been thinking it was.
Getting back to Trump. On one level. Trump is obviously a 1 in 45 phenomenon. On the other hand, he seems much more unusual than that. Is there a lesson we can learn about him from the cosmological research?
Michael Cohen said in testimony last week that Trump is a racist, a con and a cheat.
So was Ponce de León. Perhaps there’s a connection. Could it be that the world we live in not only automatically creates beings that invent paper napkins and ballpoint pens, but also spits out racists, cons and cheats regularly? Could there be a mechanism that would explain how that could happen?
When you look at what racism is, it’s about power, exploitation and aggrandizement.
It’s about one segment of society swindling another, and swindlings are always based on cons and cheats. So if we have a mechanism that causes racists to come into being, we get cons and cheats out of that for free. From that perspective Michael Cohen was being redundantly clear.
You can try to turn that last thought on its head. If we have a mechanism that produces swindlers, wouldn’t we necessarily get racists as a result?
I would say that in any other society in which greed and cheating was encouraged and rewarded as much as in ours, the production of racists by that mechanism would not be assured. Something else, an additional ingredient, is required.
It’s clear what that additional ingredient is. It’s the ferment left behind by a history of racism and the conditions it has created.
A society with entrenched racist institutions creates the conditions under which individual racism is catalysed and arises among cheaters and cons.
In other words, making America great again is not an option. America is always going to generate racists until all the racist institutions born out of the past are dead.
Dr. Wes Browning is a one time math professor who has experienced homelessness several times. He supplied the art for the first cover of Real Change in November of 1994 and has been involved with the organization ever since. This is his weekly column, Adventures in Irony, a dry verbal romp of the absurd.
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