tisdag 3 november 2009

The Importance of Giving an Impression

Is the climate alarmism now overwhelming us in the media yet another Apocalypse of religious nature,  or is it a culmination of the a crisis of classical rational understandable mechanics and mathematics leading into the modern physics of quantum mechanics and relativity which nobody understands? Is it an expression of Mathematics as Magics? A step back into the Dark Ages? 

Maybe. Maybe it signifies that we live in a culture of packaging rather than content? That beautiful rethoric and gesture is more convincing than content and action? Listening to Reinfeldt and Obama can give support to this view.

I read in Metro that the professions of highest prestige today are: architect, physician, researcher, lawyer and finance analyst, because they signal knowledge which serves the overall goal of "giving an impression". On the oher end of the scale you find people in the army and advertizing. 

It seems that to balance our culture of surface and ads, we give value to the opposite of content and knowledge, but the value is still superficial "impression". To be a mathematician is impressive, not because of something you can do or compute which can be appreciated by other people, but because it gives the impression that you are smart, even if you are not.

  • We are confident that if all countries involved recognize this is a unique opportunity that we can get an important deal done, not (one) that solves every problem on this issue but takes an important step forward and lays the groundwork for further progress in the future.
  • We discussed climate change extensively and all of us agreed that it was imperative for us to redouble our efforts in the weeks between now and the Copenhagen meeting to assure that we create a framework for progress in dealing with what is a potential ecologic disaster.
Impressive? Is modern science also about impressions or about reality and content?
We agreed it was imperative to redouble efforts to assure that we create a framework for progress in dealing... with...disaster? Of course we are all seduced by chains of wordings like this. And if the disaster is only an impression of disaster, maybe impressions of actions will suffice to deal with it? 

The Guardian's George Monbiot describes increasing scepticism to climate alarmism as a 
psychological reaction to increasing scientific alarmism:
  • There is no point in denying it: we're losing. Climate change denial is spreading like a contagious disease. It exists in a sphere that cannot be reached by evidence or reasoned argument; any attempt to draw attention to scientific findings is greeted with furious invective. This sphere is expanding with astonishing speed.
  • Could it be that the rapid growth of climate change denial over the last two years is actually a response to the hardening of scientific evidence? If so, how the hell do we
  • confront it? 
  • There is already experimental evidence that some people respond to reminders of death by increasing consumption.
But maybe it is simpler than that: Maybe an increasing scientific scepticism is now causing an increasing scepticism in the public opinion, in the same way as initially scientific alarmism influenced public opinion. Maybe what counts is not only psychology and impression, but also scientific reality?

Maybe it is a psychological survival tactic to give an impression to be immortal, while we all know deep in our souls that we are not...

3 kommentarer:

  1. A step bacK? Most of the world is in the dark ages including many in the US. Mathematics can seem magickal and mysterious. But why not have a little fun with that? Ballet dancers and gymnasts seem to do magic with there bodies, but it's all vectors, and center of mass, and Newtonian physics, and what must be. Doing mathematics is an art and a skill like the dancer's, and there cannot exist a theorem proving machine. Not of human depth. There is much to understand in the symbolism of magick, and symbolism in general, and how these inanimate symbols act on the mind and evoke responses in the mind through physical processes. It could be a scientific inquiry.

  2. There is place for magics in arts but not in science and engineering.
    When you lean back for take-off in the jumbo-jet, you expect it is not all all magics, right?

  3. Well, but it's still wondrous and frightening. Cheers.