A system of disbelief

Wonders will never cease. Nope, I am not referring to any mundane wonder – like winning a lottery, meeting a screen idol or staying in my BMI zone. That would be believable in this day and age! The wonders i talk about are more in the realm of fantasy, yet they have come to pass and no one it seems is any wiser or concerned about them.

Take for instance the on-again off-again, global crisis. Can anyone tell me whether there is actually one on or not. The people in the know seem to be saying that Greece is a) in trouble or b) about to default on its debts or c) has already defaulted and no one has found out because so much new money is being given to them. None of that troubles me – as long as France, Germany and to some extent the UK are guiding the economic engine of Europe, Greece will be a hiccup, perhaps a burp but not serious indigestion. Here is wonder number 1. What is the whole world’s finance sector worried about. Countries have been living beyond their means since a long time back. Most of the time they manage to get their act in place, cut expenditure and manage to grow theirselves to a reasonably useful level. Not always. This time will be one more time – so why the panic?

 The second point of absolute wonder also took place a few days back. But this is in the realms of science, nay, science fiction if you will. A team of scientists at CERN (the big man made particle accelerator linked lab under the Swiss-French border) have discovered that Einstein, Stephen Hawking and the ilk have spent their lives in the wrong belief. After three years of planning, six months of fine-tuning and may man hours of effort, the team shot a stream of Neutrinos from CERN to a lab in Italy and found that the neutrinos reached there just a little bit quicker than they expected – faster than the speed of light. “Impossible,” I scream, echoed by the wavering voice of Einstein and the machine generated one of the Hawk. If anything can travel faster than light, then our understanding of the Universe is a big misunderstanding, because our system of beliefs is based on some constants – light speed being one of them.

I have spoken before of having to reshape our thinking as accepted norms become a story of change. The US is no longer a AAA rated country, the Euro zone is actually and zone and a penumbra and Ferrari and Lamborghini will make four-door cars. From Carl Sagan and Hawking I had learned that the absolute limit imposed by the speed of light was a reason why time travel would never happen. Ok, so now is there a chance? The chances are good that we should be able to create a teleportation device ala Star Trek, at least for inanimate objects. The thought of having one’s DNA unzipped and restitched a thousand miles away is too frightening a thought to accept live teleporation. But what if we could teleport money. The European central bank could organise a large teletransfer (in the scan and zap machine) and our newfound speedy particles would reach there before they were even generated. (Now that is possible in the brave new world of faster than light speed stuff). In that way, the ECB has a few hundred billion Euros while the Greeks have the same. But would it be the same? Ah ha, the conundrums flow thick and fast.

Even better still, this new reality allows us to peek into the future. hard up countries would know a) whether they will default, b) what the fallout would be if so and c) whether they need to do something different in the present that will change their future.

All that’s well and good, but let’s face facts. My bet is on some mundane clerical error being the reason why there was a miscalculation in the first place. Perhaps the old adage of the observer influencing the reading by his presence must be at work. Then there are no miracle cures available and governments will have to decide whether they are going to spend themselves out of this bog or save and do without for a couple of generations. Until they do something – we are going to follow the recipe of staying out of trouble. Because in this world of normal values, the only thing that seems to go faster than the speed of light are our savings.

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