A few hours ago, someone I know on facebook, apparently without any sense of irony, posted the following macro:
Now, I actually find this one to be fairly humourous, on account of the fact that it actually does sound very much like the sort of “revelation” that one might have after dropping too much acid. However, the person who posted it seems to think that the humour arises from the fact that the revelation is genuinely profound.
Now, of course, I’m not in the business of denigrating other people’s religious beliefs*; if you want to believe this mystical notion that existence is only a dream that the Universe is having, then more power to you; I certainly can’t prove you wrong.
However…I can’t help but notice the fact that first line in the lower caption (“all matter is energy condensed into a slow vibration”) makes absolutely no fucking sense whatsoever. Now of course, my brain has been assiduously trained to try to assemble words of this nature into some sort of coherent sense, and as such I find such pseudo-quantum word salad to be physically painful to read. I realize of course that most people who are not physicists are not going to respond in this fashion: but what I don’t understand is how it is even possible to read such a thing without at least wondering what it means.
If you are going to treat this as if it is a profound revelation, then surely you should at least be able to explain what it means! You should be able to answer any of the following questions:
- What do you mean by “energy?”
- In what sense is it possible for energy to be “condensed?”
- When you say “a slow vibration,” do you mean it in the sense of a low frequency? If so, shouldn’t that mean that it has a long wavelength? If so, how can it be “condensed?”
- Why should the fact that matter is interchangeable with energy have any bearing upon anything else that follows afterwards?
I have of course commented on this before: people are accustomed to recognizing certain words and constructions as sounding “science-y” and therefore worthy of respect. But I must admit, I do find it amusing to see the terminology of such a purely functionalist discipline being used, essentially, as decoration: as if by so doing you are somehow invoking its power. A very ironic display of magical thinking.
*Unless, of course, you are using those beliefs as a pretext for oppressing other people, in which case I consider it my moral duty to point out just how arbitrary or even counter-factual such beliefs actually are.