Monday, July 23, 2012

Why Does the World Exist?

“Why Does the World Exist?” a new book by Jim Holt was recently reviewed by Jeremy Bernstein in the Wall Street Journal.  The cosmos intrigues me so of course I read the review.

Everyone’s first question on this subject is:  What was there before the Big Bang?  Some cosmologists will say they don’t know.  Others will say that since time and space were created by the Big Bang there is no “before.”  I like the answer but can’t quite get my head around the concept.

I can get my head around the final paragraph in Bernstein’s review:

A hedge fund manager who has made all the money that he will ever need, reads Mr. Holt’s book and decides to search for the meaning of the universe.  He discovers a Buddhist monk who lives in a cave in the Himalayas and almost never speaks but, when he does, speaks only the highest wisdom.  Our man undertakes a dangerous trek to ask the monk his question:  “What is the secret of the cosmos?”  The monk goes into a trance and comes out with a single sentence.  He says, “The cosmos is like a bowl of cherries.”  Our man is outraged, so angry he even shakes the monk.  “How can you possibly say that the cosmos is like a bowl of cherries?”  After a few minutes the monk replies:  “Maybe the cosmos is not like a bowl of cherries.”

A perfect response for a question that cannot be answered!

Different subject:  Penn State

The penalties imposed on Penn State by the NCAA were a good start but didn’t go far enough.  They should have banned football at Penn State for at least ten years.


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