Tuesday, 22 March 2011

VII. Power Tools

We have all come across, on a daily basis, with humongous amounts of information, numbers, facts, factoids. All of this is “sold” to us with a rubber stamped “scientific approved” hallmark to make it credible, from the RDA (recommended daily amounts of anything and everything), rate exchanges, ingredients, E numbers, interest rates, maximum radiation exposure, maximum luggage allowance, the list is endless...

None of this is however a correct description of the world. In the meantime Science throws at you an infinity of credible formulae that are applied regularly, with integrals or differentials, more or less esoteric symbols, that are materially the same as a culinary recipe in an Heston Blumenthal’s book.

Take a look at the formula below:

Can you recognise it? Some hard lined finance people might not even know it as its shown above!!! They just put some figures in an excel spreadsheet and hey presto out it comes the month repayment amortization with interest r on a loan P. Some of them will even argue that this formula is fundamental to understand the world. In a sense, in a world on loan we are living in today, they might have an extremely valid point.

Through time scientists have inundated the world and books with formulae for everything and anything. All of them, bar a few, are just variations of variations, intellectual exercises with no more final value than finishing a Sudoku.

So… what are we left with after getting rid of these unimportant variations? What has mankind produced until today that in its essence really represents the world, from the biggest black hole to the smallest sub-nuclear particle? The result is 3! There are only three formulae that explain everything, that summarise the entire knowledge and also the entire ignorance of human intellect to date:
The first formula relates matter to energy and vice-versa. It is by far the most famous of them all and by all means the most misunderstood. The implications of its simplicity have been overshadowed by its practicality. Cocktail party intelligentsia discussions on how well it works for things that were rather odd before its deduction by Albert Einstein have not helped to understand it.

The second one relates matter to space and the uncertainty inherent in both. Heisenberg tells you that you can never know for certain where you are, what you weigh, when you are, who you are…

The third (aka entropy) is all about relationships, from chaos to order and chaos again, how matter can be distributed through time and space, compressed, extended, destructed, created…

With these formulae we can explain everything we are doing and achieving today, with a bit of manipulation we can even deduct how much is our monthly mortgage repayment. But hélas, we cannot explain Everything... yet!

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