Thursday, 14 February 2013

Wittgenstein- The Philosophical Lexus

[LW]He was the commissar to a philosophical rebuke. A sharp, witty and scintillating ideal of modern thought, an emissary of a linguistic and metaphysical atomism and the expounding of a landscape of unprecedented abstraction. For it was his the redefinition of philosophy and logical form and function that continues to form a pillar of which we attempt to circumvent and infer to the fullest of play. And it was his fetish for language that deployed a panorama beyond the topography of mere letters and symbols, one that placed the world and its state of affairs at the focal pivot rather than a temporal periphery. Ludwig Wittgenstein remains the embodiment of such an ideal, the clarification of thoughts and the expression of such thoughts via the universal medium of language and discourse. To the early Wittgenstein, the temporal world is not a landscape of mere objects and things; rather it is the ultimate extravagance of facts made differential by pictures. Pictures are thoughts, they are thoughts thread by the isomorphic arrangement of elements predicated on objects in the state of affairs; for the structure of reality mirrors the framework of language. Such an approach to philosophy foresees the 'limits of the world as the limits of language' and the profound realisation that in so far as pictures are concerned, they fail to describe logical form yet unless language really mirrored reality, it would become impossible for sentences to ever be sensible, coherent and complete. But to the later Wittgenstein, the picture metaphor is inverted upon its head and words ultimately become cast our thinking of what reality actually is. We cannot live in a realm independent of the conceptual toolbox of language, for their exists an inseparable contingency; a family resemblance whereby words deduce meaning not from an inherent essence but from a matrix of similarities. We then realise Wittgenstein's erasure of the picture metaphor, the notion that semantics arises from an associative relation between ideas in the head and the underlying Platonic essence. Meaning is just the by-product of a hypothetical language game lacking any real foundation or justification and to Wittgenstein it is the binding role of the philosopher to validate such a game with description. Verily it becomes impossible to separate oneself from the language game and superimpose, compare and contrast its successes, failures and shortcomings. Private language seems to circumvent this paradigm, by working from the centre of an individual outwards until one realises that private sensations alone are contingent upon external, societal criterions and negates the difference between thinking and actually using the private language soundly. And over the long haul it becomes rather appeasing and satiable to consider the musings of Wittgenstein as laws and constants of human language and behaviour, strung by the words yet envisaged by a picture. 

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Black Holes- A Fatal Attraction

They are cosmic quandaries woven into the fabric of space-time. Desolate and dark voids of unparalleled attraction and zero repulsion, channels towards the monstrosities of the universe. And while even light fails to evade their 'magnetism', to shed light on the nuts and bolts of their being is to converge on a Pandora's box of possibilities and realities. Black holes ain't so black. They are the ideal inescapable black body of which their escape velocity exceeds the velocity of light and the ideal candidate for a bottomless pit. And at their heart, the singularity, we confront a point of dimensionless zero volume yet infinite density at which the very field equations and formulae of general relativity become musings of balderdash. The birth of a black hole translates to the death of a star, a genesis of a gravitational singularity from the failure of degeneracy pressure to cease a collapse; accompanied by the emission of hypernova gamma ray bursts. And for such a meticulous evolutionary transition, we realise that any mass has the potential to become a black hole; from elementary particles to celestial bodies in their entirety. Should the mass of the earth be reduced to a Schwarzschild radius of eight millimetres, its mass would pull on itself as the dimensionless singularity becomes the core. And should a person approach the earthly black hole, an observer will notice their acceleration gradually get slower and slower and never reaching the event horizon given the pull on light. And recall that black holes ain't so black, it is the quantum fluctuations that gives rise to the emergence and annihilation of pairs of virtual particles that gives merit to the existence of Hawking radiation. Eventually leading to the loss of the black hole's mass via radiation and ultimately leading to its dissipation and disappearance. But information is just as compendious as matter and energy, its conservation is an axiom of physics and its placement in a black hole, the Information Paradox, leads to much speculation as its fate. Envisage information falling into the event horizon, its substance becomes smothered and permeated across the periphery of the black hole raising the playful thought that dimensions are nothing but smears on a holograph. Similarly, black holes 'have no hair'; they may be explained along the parameters of charge, mass and momentum from an external frame of reference, yet fails to be expounded in terms of the internal properties hidden from empirical observation. Nucleosynthesis from accretion disks produces particles such as neutrinos, a process occurring near hot regions of outflow near the vicinity of the black hole. But above all, its is the envisaging of a worm-hole that primes us when speaking of the fabric of space-time and the cosmic landscape; an alleyway, a cosmological shortcut between two regions of such a fabric. And if the mystique of black holes fails to grip to imagination, fails in its paradoxical yet evolutionary paradigm of burly suction, then it has been reduced to a vacuum cleaner...