Saturday, August 1, 2015

Some Additional Thoughts on Individual Worlds



In this morning’s newspaper I came across an article which I think has some bearing on my recent blog about Individual Worlds (7/31/2015).
The idea that certain events can be analyzed into two different and opposite descriptions is called complementarity. For example, depending upon how a physicist is viewing light, it can be thought of either as a wave or as a stream of particles, and in some cases the idea also applies to the macro world.
The article this morning was about literature teachers and their problems in reconciling Atticus Finch, the champion of justice in To Kill a Mockingbird, with Atticus Finch, the racist in Go Set a Watchman.
Now that we know all about complementarity, it’s not difficult to resolve the dilemma. Atticus views the defense of Tom Robinson as a matter of justice vs. racism. It’s just wave (justice) vs. particle (racism).
Although a racist, the young Atticus was first and foremost a believer in justice. Perhaps if he had been in his 70s when the Robinson case came up, Atticus would have looked at it from the racist viewpoint.
There is an old saying that middle age is when your narrow waist and broad mind change places. It can also be true of opposing viewpoints.
In Individual Worlds I also wrote that in some cases the line from A to non-A, and from true to false, is a continuum requiring fuzzy logic, but I didn’t give an example. I can’t think of a better one than this somewhat naughty joke:

A man seated next to a beautiful girl in a bar turns to her and says, “Would you sleep with me for a million dollars?”
She replies, “Yes, of course.”
He: “Would you sleep with me for $100?”
She: “Of course not. What do you think I am?”
He: “We’ve already decided that. Now we’re just trying to find the price.”

Politicians, please take note. Somewhere between the left and the right there’s a point of agreement. You just have to look for it.
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My books, “There Are Only Seven Jokes” and “The Spirit Runs Through It” are available in paperback or Kindle at Amazon.

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