Does Matter Matter?
By R. D. Flavin


Philip K. Dick from 1972 speech, mentioned in a 1978 publication.

     Okay, Rick, better put down the joint before you attempt to answer: Does Matter Matter? Whether to engage or avoid discussions with quantum physicists, Hindu or Buddhist or Taoist or Confucius following monks, philosophical nihilists, or a host of other really negative-outlook folk, who would likely NOT do well at a wine and cheese soirée, about the subject of 'matter' and its existence, function, and ultimate fate, is somewhat akin to soiling one's self while wearing Adult Diapers – you're protected, but you just shit yourself. Now, let's discuss 'matter' in its many definitions and forms.

     There's the OED versions of noun (1), noun (2), and verb for our English word 'matter', yet leave it to us Across-the-Pond folk to clarify “noun (1)” as: 'matter', used as meaning a veritable unit, and defined as a collection of elements (or 'particles') which have mass (i.e., substance), volume (i.e., size), and density (i.e., weight). Let's present a couple of graphics for a bit of grounding...

A chart featured our currently 'known' elements' and a conjectured listing of so-called "elemenatry particles."


Bereshit, Bereishit, Bereishis, B'reshith, Beresheet, Bereishees, and Bərēšīṯx
"In [the] beginning" is the first word and title of the first book of the Hebrew Bible (the Tanakh) and the Christian so-called "Old Testament."

     And, such begins the establishment of the Abrahamic religions (i.e., Judaism, [Maybe, sort-of, Mandaeism], Christianity, Samaritanism, Islam, and the cults of Druzism, the 'Bábi and the Bahá'í Faiths', the Rastafari movement, and others ...not worth discussing at this time. The so-called “Occidental and Abrahamic or Near Eastern-based” devoutly religious believe in a 'beginning' ex nihilo, while scientists currently subscribe to the “Big Bang” theory as put forth by Hawkings, Ellis, and Pemrose. It's still being fine-tuned, yet I ask about the “second” BEFORE the “Big Bang” or ex nihilo, if you will, but we must imagine a beginning of sorts. And, so it follows, the origin of matter...  And, an instant before...

A graphic showing the projection of the "Big Bang" model until the present. © PBS NOVA [1], Fermilab, Office of Science, United States Department of Energy, Particle Data Group.

     Among various Indian philosophies such as Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, the Cāvāka skepticism, etc., 'Maya' (Sanskrit माया māyā) or “illusion” is the belief which holds 'reality' as we perceive it is a misconception of a higher (and 'true') spiritual reality. And, yes, two plus two DOES equal five, and if we don't get it right this time we'll be reincarnated as a gerenuk antelope (Litocranius walleri) and avoid drinking water. When 'all' is false, and you can die and come back as another life-form, it's pretty difficult to accept that 'matter' matters. Yeah, someone peeked behind the curtain!

     The alleged 'Afterlife,' that is, Heaven, Valhalla, Shamayim (שמים), Jannah (Arabic: جنّةJannah), Elysium or the Elysian Fields (Ancient Greek: Ἠλύσιον πεδίον, Ēlýsion pedíon), or whatever 'paradise' one's 'religion' presumes (the Mormon cult has every male 'Elder' given his own planet stocked with thousands of wives), is akin to 'Maya' and reincarnation, in that believers don't HAVE to look both ways before crossing the street, ...because they are going to a far, far better place. Have you ever been to Cleveland? Some years back, His Holiness Saint John Paul II denied the existance of a physical 'Hell' and taught it was merely a self-imposed state of mind. Now, if only someone could regard 'Paradise' as such.

And, yes, His Holiness Pope Francis is indeed Catholic and a strong supporter of science.

     Nihilists are encouraged to believe there are 'no' cars and may cross the street whenever they like...

     As much as I adore felines, petting Schrödinger kitty has always frustrated me. Wave-particle duality sounds like trans-matter (following such neologisms as trans-gender and trans-racial), but the allowance of one thing being yes, no, and both at the same time confounds me. Einstein said “G*d does not play dice,” yet Prof. Hawking says this is an example of the “hidden variable theory” and the “Uncertainty Principle.” Okay, E=hv where 'h' is Plank's Constant ...and I'm going to buy a vowel and spin my 'wheel' (Sanskrit chakra; Tibetan. 'khor lo). Golly, gee whiz, and I thought Babylonian 60-based counts were problematic!

     We have the Latin maxim: "Ignoramus et ignorabimus" or "We do not know, we shall not know," which for some unknowable reason the Germans decided to translate as: “Wir müssen wissen. Wir werden wissen,” and re-appears in in English as “We must know; we will know.” IMO, matter matters despite and in spite of disagreements, disapprovals, and ...just plain being stupid.

     Choice has always been a philosophical debate 'tween pre-destination and and freewill. Yeah, I'm voting for Hillary and I side with the “Freewill” approach to our sentient sins. I began the above with a quote from Phil Dick about “reality” and may as well end with another: “It is sometimes an appropriate response to reality to go insane.” Reality matters, reality is 'matter', and insanity has always been the poor man's whiskey... Let's raise a glass to matter, if such matters to you.

Even "stardust" gets vacuumed away,

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