Someone quite reputable in the book industry thought that my book was ‘weird’. It is.
To quote Lewis Carroll, who inspired Catching Infinity:
“But I don’t want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked.
“Oh, you can’t help that,” said the Cat: “we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.”
Though we go on our everyday lives in pretty much the same way as our parents and grandparents did, our world has gone truly mad, if you look at it deeply.
This is an excerpt from Chapter 17: Fibonacci Is Breathing (if you don’t want to read this chapter, scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on the links to a couple of great external websites to show you how mad the ‘real’ world is)
These are unusual times.
The year is 2016. The global economy is but a huge air balloon, pumped up by the printing of paper money and virtual accounting that does not have a physical value. How does thirteen trllion American dollars actually look like in real life? For this is how much the world’s richest nation owes in 2015. Once upon a time, it was hard cash for real goods; going further back, it was goods for goods. Those were the good old days when people lived in a solid reality of definites and predictability as described by Newtonian mechanics.
In those days, you can walk into your local corner shop without cash, pick up a few items, the shopkeeper then writes the sum down on a little book against your name and you settle the debt at the end of the month. Now, the corner shops are all but gone: it is an entirely different ballgame today. You can speculate on the futures market, betting on crops that had not yet been grown with the money that you do not, and may never, own.
The world’s largest taxi company owns no taxis – Uber
Largest accommodation provider owns no real estate – Airbnb
Largest phone companies own no telecoms infrastructure – Skype and WeChat
Most valuable retailer has no inventory – Alibaba
Most popular media owner creates no content – Facebook
Fastest growing banks have no actual money – SocietyOne
World’s largest movie house owns no cinemas – Netflix
Largest software vendors don’t write the Apps – Apple and Google
Welcome to the new world of quantum mechanics.
A hundred years since Einstein presented his General Theory of Relativity, the world has changed deeply; there is a seismic shift in paradigm. Quantum mechanics is a new model of reality that gives us the best picture of the Universe to date. It is a picture in which many concepts fundamental to our intuitive understanding of nature no longer have meaning: Quantum mechanics is this fuzzy, unpredictable, incredibly fast world where there are no comforting and familiar definites. Because we simply cannot know: no matter how much information you obtain, the outcomes can never be predicted with certainty because they are not determined with certainty. Electrons don’t even decide which spin they are going to be until you look at them, and by looking at them with our increasngly powerful machines, we are confering reality and legitimacy upon them. It is akin to letting the quantum genie out of the Newtonian bottle.
** To visualise the ‘madness’ in a language that readers are perhaps more familiar with, i.e. money:
If you can accept this, why can’t you accept quantum madness?