Tuesday, January 31, 2006

There's a Reason It's Called Work.

I was off last week. Didn't go anywhere, just stayed home. It was great. I relaxed, played with the kids, did alot of reading and worked out at the gym. S and I actually got to go out for an evening without the munchkins (a very infrequent occurance).

I read "Cell" by Stephen King and "The Cosmic Landscape" by Leonard Susskind. I've always been a big King fan and have read most of his books. This is one of the better ones of his more recent works. Somewhat like "The Stand" (although much shorter) but with a more modern twist. As usual, strong sympathetic, well developed characters. Not the strongest of endings(which was also a problem with The Stand) but over all a very good read.

"The Cosmic Landscape" is a nonfiction book by one of the worlds leading theoretical physicists. It's basically an introduction to quantum physics, String Theory and the origins of the universe. In the introduction he states that the book was written for the lay person. If your definition of a lay person is: a college graduate with a bachelors degree in physics, chemistry or biology and at least one or two higher level math courses then I suppose it is. I have a biology degree and a graduate degree and found some of the book tough to follow. The book purports to be a refutation of the theory of Intelligent Design. I'm not sure it succeeds on that level.

The proponents of intelligent Design claim that the universe is so complex and finely tuned that it couldn't have formed by accident. Suskind's answer is that there are essentially an infinite number of "pocket universes" out there with every conceivable combination of physical and chemical propperties. Our universe, and probably several others have the right combination to support our type of life. Most don't. Many of the universes fail. Some could perhaps support different types of life. Problem is, we can't see any of these pocket universes or really prove that they exist. They are all traveling away from our universe at at least the speed of light so we will never be able to see them or determine their physical makeup.

That's the problem with theortical physics. In an attempt to determine the make-up and building blocks of our own universe and explain the physical properties that we observe different theories are developed. But most can't be proved. Experiment physicists have just about found the smallest particles that can be found with the current generation of linear accelerators and as Suskind points out, you'd have to have an accelerator as big as the galaxy to be able to identify the tiniest particles that make up the building blocks of life. Just because the concepts make mathematical sense and the equations all balance doesn't mean that's the way things actually work. It's mostly just conjecture.

Also, who cares if these other universes are out there. We live in this universe and that aint gonna change. We're not going to be able to develop a worm hole or quantum tunnel into another universe. I'm no proponent of intelligent design. I think there was probably some sort of Big Bang and when things settled out our type of life evolved. If after the Big Bang the physical properties of the universe were different a different type of life may have evolved. It could have been conscious beings made entirely out of energy who raced around the universe at the speed of light. Who knows. Maybe those beings do exist in one of Leonard's pocket universes.

Putting aside the whole intelligent design thing I did find much of the book very interesting. I think string theory is fascinating. It's amazing how much we've been able to find out about the particles that make up our universe and how they behave. If you have at least an elementary backgroud in science you may find this book enjoyable. It's not easy reading but is worth the effort.

Somehow I've gotten sidetracked. What was the purpose of this post? Oh yes. I'm back at work this week and guess what? It Sucks! It's very busy, not very rewarding and totally stressful. Most of the people I work with are unhappy with their jobs. Everyone complains. Everyone is taken for granted. No one seems to appreciate what you do or tell you thanks, nice job.

I hear these self help types on TV and the internet telling us how we shoudn't stay in jobs that make us unhappy. We should do something that we love. Find something rewarding. Take a chance. Start a new carreer. To those people I say: Fuck Off! For most people on this planet it's not an option. We don't have the knowledge, the expertise or the financial means to just quit our jobs and try something else. We have bills. We have debts. We have obligations. We have wives with credit cards. We can't just chuck it all and go to Tahiti, become alcoholics and pretend to write that one great novel that we just know is inside of us.

I'm tired of people telling me that my job should be fulfilling. That it should be fun. That's B.S.
There really is a reason why it's called work. Because it is work. It's not supposed to be fun. If it was fun it would be called something else. Like, oh I don't know, maybe...fun?

By my calculations, if I don't win the lottery I'm stuck in this job for about another 20 years. How can I possibly survive? Red wine, Bass ale and single malt Scotch.

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