Saturday, June 20, 2020

This Is Unphysical

“If Q increased further, the radius
Of the event horizon would become
A complex number. . . . This is unphysical.”

In simpler terms, impossible, and so
No such black holes, and yet it is, is named,
Is a well-worn mathematical tool,

Our complex number, as honed as the blade
By which Zhuangzi’s butcher effortlessly
Cut the joints: physical, unphysical.

Poor sacrificial ox, this universe,
Felled by our mathematical metaphors.
Such a great beast, such small tools. I must ask—

What are the deepest implications
Of these facts for how tiny we are,
We all are, our Earth is, the stars are?

It’s a powerful puzzle,
This weakest force in any
Math-possible universe,

Gravity—if it is that,
If the conjecture holds up
Through the inverse relation

Fresh equations show between
Energy and entropy—
To say why gravity’s weak,

Beyond all philosophy,
Beyond all speculation,
Weakest of all possible

Worlds, Dr. Pangloss, all worlds!
Would that tell us what it means
That we’re so small, small at all?

Supposing any universe requires
A whole lot of variation in size,
Small wonders why the small studies it all,

Why any wonder appears or appeals
To the small. Smaller and smaller it grows,
Around wonder’s lighthouse, wonder’s pulsar,

Wonder’s bright-and-dark heart of metaphors,
Their deepest implications staggering
For carrying almost no force at all.

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