Thursday, December 21, 2006

What's the metaphor?

William L Hosch of the Britannica Blog writes :

“,,, different ages develop different metaphors (or memes) to describe man, the universe, and God. In the 17th century, Isaac Newton and his contemporaries developed what came to be called a mechanical, or clockwork, model of reality. For them the universe was built up like the intricate interlocking wheels of an automaton, such that once wound up by the Creator, the universe and everything in it inexorably followed Newton’s laws.

…Since the mid 20th century, the concept of the computer has been one of the most prevalent memes for describing reality… and in the 1960s Konrad Zuse, who built the first program-controlled computer in 1941, asserted that the universe is a computer. More recently, Stephen Wolfram has also claimed that life can be explained as a cellular automaton, and that… the universe is a giant computer program that is continually calculating the unfolding of events.”

So, what is the metaphor of our times and how do we explain the Universe to reflect today’s reality ? As one gigantic iPod player with a huge memory and where each one of us is an MP3 file, with an invisible Hand controlling the central scroll key? The Indian view, perhaps, would be that the Universe is just a Bollywood film being reeled out eternally with each one of us playing bit roles ?

2 comments:

Shpriya said...

>>"Universe is just a Bollywood film being reeled out eternally with each one of us playing bit roles ?"<<
"All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;..." --Shakespeare's soliloquy from "As you like it" :)

Raj said...

Ah, segappier beat me to it again...