### Generation gap

Of Cambridge University,

Is spending the day

With his young nephew,

Alexander,

Aged 8.

They find themselves

In a hamburger emporium

In the remote

Cathedral city of Ely.

Despite the fact

That both his parents

Read arts subjects

At a northern university,

Young Alexander is

A surprisingly bright child.

Dr Stockton is introducing him

To the rudiments

Of quantum mechanics.

“Now obviously, Alexander,

In a classical mechanical system,

The state-space

Composed of n particles,

Obtained by specifying the values

Of 6n real-valued quantities —

Three components of position and

Three of momentum

For each particle in the system —

Is a 6n-dimensional coordinate space ….”

“May I have another

Butterscotch milkshake,

Uncle Piers?”

“Not until you’ve grasped

The rudiments

Of quantum mechanics,

Alexander.”

“But Uncle, that will take

Millions of years

And by then

All the butterscotch milkshakes

Will have become the

Fossilised artefacts

Of a bygone age.”

“Only if you accept uncritically

The prevailing Western notion

Of linear time,

Alexander.”

“Yes, Uncle Piers.”

“Now clearly, the situation

Is a little different

In quantum mechanics,

Where there are mathematically

Describable ways

Of combining the values

Of the quantities

That don't represent

Physically possible states.

Indeed, the state-spaces

Of quantum mechanics

Are special kinds of vector spaces,

Called Hilbert spaces ….”

“When I grow up,

Uncle Piers,

I’m going to be a politician.

And then I’m going to

Use my power to

Steal some extra votes

In Florida, Ohio and Sedgefield,

And become

A benign dictator.

And then when I am

A benign dictator,

I will ban all science –

Not just practical science –

I will ban all talking

And all thinking

About science.

Only in that way

Can the world

Become a better place.”

“Yes, Alexander.”

The Piers Stockton cycle of koans

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Science = Religion ?

Index of blog contents

Spirituality websites worth watching

Labels: Piers Stockton, The Piers Stockton cycle of koans, Traditional Norfolk koans

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