Thursday, February 23, 2017

“An integral part of nature”

Carlo Rovelli:

Our moral values, our emotions, our loves are no less real for being part of nature, for being shared with the animal world, or for being determined by the evolution which our species has undergone over millions of years. Rather, they are more valuable as a result of this: they are real. They are the complex reality of which we are made. Our reality is tears and laughter, gratitude and altruism, loyalty and betrayal, the past which haunts us and serenity. Our reality is made up of our societies, of the emotion inspired by music, of the rich intertwined networks of the common knowledge which we have constructed together. All of this is part of the self-same “nature” which we are describing. We are an integral part of nature; we are nature, in one of its innumerable and infinitely variable expressions.

Seven Brief Lessons on Physics, trans. Simon Carnell and Erica Segre (London: Penguin, 2016).
This passage reminds me of something Jonathan Shay writes in Achilles in Vietnam: Combat Trauma and the Undoing of Character (1994): “Culture is as biologically real for humans as the body.”

Also from Seven Brief Lessons on Physics
Elementary particles : General relativity v. quantum mechanics

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