Tea and The Street

The media are abuzz this week with comparisons of Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party. Many are eager to point out similarities, particularly in the trajectories of their media coverage.

The fundamental difference between them, however, is being ignored. The Tea Party is a local phenomenon while Occupy Wall Street has become a global movement.

The Tea Party proclaims government as the one true bad guy. Reduce government and cut taxes and all will be well. Occupy Wall Street, meanwhile, is accused of having no message and no demands – no recipe for reform, no cure. The two movements are speaking different languages – and now as the cause spreads this is true literally as well.

Bill Frezza, a fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, said on NPR's Morning Edition (October 4, 2011) that “business is not run for the benefit of the country.” Nor does the corporation create jobs, he said, except indirectly as a consequence of growth. In fact business regards job creation as “expense creation” and therefore something to be avoided. The segment (and transcript) are here: Venture Capitalist Warns of Job Creation Myths. This is our local, Tea Party language.

The language of the global movement has its root in humanity. It speaks in the voices of ordinary people whose gifts are unwanted by the economy. It takes as given that society would be better off if these gifts could be given.

The challenges that face humanity are larger than the individual, larger than the corporation, perhaps even larger than the United States of America. They will not be solved today, this quarter, this election cycle, or even this generation.

Quantum Fiction

I have retired from my airline job but my passion is still flying. I want to write and teach as much as I can, here as long as I can.

Here I am with one of my grandsons.

I can be reached at chris@formercaptain.ca
As I struggle to learn to write (difficult, pills painful, intoxicating) Arcadia has become my parallel universe. It is not my native Canada but it is a close cousin. It is not true (fiction) but it is me – my experience, my history, my imagination.

In 1957 Hugh Everett put forth the Many Worlds Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics, where the uncertainty of the quantum state was resolved by positing parallel universes. I have always thought his theory patently ridiculous. If each and every quantum particle divides the world in two as it collapses, then the number of universes is two to the power of the number of particles in the universe, or something. It is bigger than infinity: it is an infinity if infinities. It boggles the mind.

Of course that has no bearing on its truth. And after reading Dream Machine in the May 2, 2011 issue of The New Yorker, I am changing my mind about Everett. As Riva Galchen says in her article, physics advances by accepting absurdities. So perhaps it is more to the point to question the usefulness of a theory and let its truth fend for itself in future generations.

After all, do we not all live in parallel universes? Are our worlds exactly alike?