Art and theory of reversibility

According to the World Economic Forum that annually meets in Davos, «nothing ever will be the same» after the coronavirus. The Great Reset awaits us this impending 2021 and we only have to get on board.

How can we know when a change is definitive or merely occasional? How can we foresee if its consequences will be reversible or irreversible?

It is assumed that the miscalled «Spanish flu» of 1918-1919 was incomparably deadlier than this virus, and yet it vanished like a ghost in the memory of an entire generation which however could not forget the First World War and the Treaty of Versailles, or the crash of 29.

The great war and the crisis of the 1930s did have irreversible effects, which would lead to the world of 1945; but it is clear that the flu did not, and as soon as it stopped filling the news, it was little less than obliterated. Some say that the figures were inflated shamelessly to frighten the population and make them forget the terrible question of the responsibility of the conflict, which had met with the general opposition of the unions, and of any person able to evade the much more lethal war propaganda of the press.

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Is globalization irreversible? Massive immigration from poor to rich countries? Emigration to the cities in most of the planet? The urban exodus in the United States? The split of this nation in two confronted societies? The flight from work? The «conquest» of rights that are often promoted and granted from above? The expropriation of techniques by technology that we call digitalization? Climate change? The hyper-concentration of capital? The corruption and decomposition of the social body? Civilization? Progress? Human domestication?

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CHINA IN SPACE AND TIME

From the West, we tend to judge today’s China more by its economic presence and the impact of its material development on the rest of the world than by the internal needs in the development of its history; thus giving an overwhelming priority to the geopolitical perspective over the cultural one, which should have at least a comparable importance.

In fact, it is easy to see that China’s overall impact will depend to a large extent on how well it manages to fit this whole period and the foreseeable future into a historical framework for which it would like as little change as possible. A sense of continuity on a large scale is fundamental to Chinese culture, and in the long term it will always do its best to assimilate and make the origin of foreign influences undetectable. It has already achieved this to a large extent with Marxism and capitalism, which lose so much of their original meaning in translation that it is no longer known whether to call the Chinese system «market socialism» or «state capitalism».

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Two kinds of reciprocity

The Taijitu, the emblem of the action of the Pole with respect to the world, and of the reciprocal action with respect to the Pole, inevitably reminds us of the most universal figure in physics; we are naturally referring to the ellipse —or rather, it should be said, to the idea of the generation of an ellipse with its two foci, since here there is no eccentricity. The ellipse appears in the orbits of the planets no less than in the atomic orbits of the electrons, and in the study of the refractive properties of light it gives rise to a whole field of analysis, ellipsometry. Kepler’s old problem has scale invariance, and plays a determining role in all our knowledge of physics from the Planck constant to the furthest galaxies.

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Physics and the continuous proportion

We already see that there are purely mathematical reasons for the continuous proportion to appear in the designs of nature independently of causality, be it physical, chemical or biological: in fact the convenience of logarithmic growth is independent even of the form itself, as is the elementary fact of the discrete and asymmetric division of cells.

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POLE OF INSPIRATION – The spark and the thread

Those who like simple problems can try to demonstrate this relationship before moving on. It’s insultingly easy:

φ = 1/φ +1 = φ-1+1 = 1/φ-1

We owe this fortunate discovery to John Arioni. The elementary demonstration, along with other unexpected relationships, is on the site Cut the knot [1]. The number φ is, naturally, the golden ratio (1+√ 5)/2, in decimal figures 1.6180339887…, and φ-1 is the reciprocal, 0.6180339887… . And since its infinite decimal places can be calculated by means of the simplest continuous fraction, here we will also call it the continuous ratio or continuous proportion, because of its unique role as mediator between discrete and continuous aspects of nature and mathematics.

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