Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Inspiracións Uno

Still not really in the mood for writing properly at the moment, even though there's a fuckload of ideas whirling around my head that I will somehow have to get into some coherent form to make room for the next load of weird shit to fill the space again. In lieu of anything sensible from me, I'd like to present two wonderful programmes (which, admittedly do occasionally draw on the same material, but seriously, don't let that put you off) on one of the greatest non-musical inspirations and influences on my warped little mind*: Richard Feynman; iconoclast, prankster, safe cracker, strip club afficianado, bongo player extraordianaire, and, oh yeah, the greatest physicist of the second half of the twentieth century...

I firmly believe that every fucking anti-science luddite fuckwit on Earth should be sat down and forced to watch these programs, if only because I'd enjoy watching their comforting stereotypes of science and it's practitioners slowly and carefully dismantled by a man whose intelligence, compassion and all-encompassing, outrageously open-minded worldview is a lesson to us all. Oh, and he has almost as much time for philosophy as I do.

For more Feynman-oriented awesomeness, go here.

*I don't really do heroes, but this is about as close as I get.


  1. I like him. Like most intelligent people with a passion for something...he's engaging.

    It's funny though...I'm one of those people who find scientists hard to take sometimes (hopefully not a complete f***wit :) ). I know other people, intelligent people, that have a similarly hard time.

    It's almost always over the issue of epistemological certainty. It sometimes causes them to make fantastic statements about things that they don't understand...or at least don't seem to take very seriously. It's as if anything that can't be proven with the senses isn't important because it can't be "known."

    "I know what it means to know something."

    His final judgement on human existence as, "best he can tell," pointless is a good example.

    It's fine for him to boast about being fearless in the face of a pointless existence but, his mental toughness doesn't do anything to address the 5 billion questions he's just opened the door on...questions that are REAL and arise from such a statement as surely as 4 arises from 2+2.

    Just the questions concerning Reality and Existence are mind boggling...and you'd have to get through those before you could discuss the hairy issue of Morality.

    I totally agree with him on the issue of applying science to the humanities. That's how we've ended up with all these shit "key" histories but, sociology...man, I'd pay to see him go after that crowd.

    Anyway, I really enjoyed it...and I hope I haven't shown my self to be too much of a anti-science type *****er. :) Just protecting my own slab.

  2. Just a quick reply to say I'm thinking about how to reply properly to this, 'cos you raise some excellent points, and I don't want to short-change them. I'm really glad you enjoyed the docs, I had a sneaking suspicion you'd jive with his attitude to science and its (mis)application to the humanities. If you search for Feynman and sociology you won't find much by the man himself, but you will find an awful lot of sociologists who violently disagree (for all the wrong reasons mostly) with anything Feynman says, and who often make for extremely entertaining reading. There's also a surprisingly high number who agree with him, and the ire they raise from their colleagues is fucking hilarious.

    And, good sir, I never had you pegged as anti-science, you've got too much common sense for that.

  3. One of the anti-Feynman crowd (I'll have to dig out the link, it's just priceless) even accuses him of being not just lazy, but a lazy physicist, which, given that the work for which he (and two colleagues) received the Nobel prize for (quantum electrodynamics - which essentially is a description of the underlying mechanism of every possible physical process except those involving nuclear forces or gravity) is the single most accurate theory in the entire scientific corpus, not to mention the fact he's possibly the single most celebrated teacher of physics ever, gives you some idea of the vast gulf of misunderstanding involved here.