Pensieri a caso
A Box Of Stories
Age of information
Greek & Latin
Mind & Brain
Science & Art
Turtles Upon Turtles: Turtles All the Way Down
“A well-known scientist once gave a public lecture on astronomy. He described how the earth orbits around the sun and how the sun, in turn, orbits around the center of a vast collection of stars called our galaxy. At the end of the lecture, a little old lady at the back of the room got up and said:
“What you have told us is rubbish. The world is really a flat plate supported on the back of a giant turtle.”
The scientist gave a superior smile before replying, “What is the turtle standing on?”
“You’re very clever, young man, very clever,” said the old lady. “But it’s turtles all the way down!”
— cited in Stephen Hawking’s, A Brief History of Time, 1988
“Turtles all the way down” is a jocular expression of the Infinite Regress problem in cosmology posed by the “Unmoved Mover” paradox. A comparable metaphor describing the cause and consequence problem as a cycle is the “Chicken and Egg” problem. In epistemology the problem is known as the Münchhausen Trilemma.”
There’s a great deal in it,’ the Controller replied. ‘Men and women must have their adrenals stimulated from time to time.’
What?’ questioned the Savage, uncomprehending.
It’s one of the conditions of perfect health. That’s why we’ve made the V.P.S. treatments compulsory.’
Violent Passion Surrogate. Regularly once a month. We flood the whole system with adrenin. It’s the complete physiological equivalent of fear and rage. All the tonic effects of murdering Desdemona and being murdered by Othello, without any of the inconvenience.’
But I like the inconveniences.’
We don’t,’ said the Controller. ‘We prefer to do things comfortably.’
But I don’t want comfort. I want God, I want poetry, I want real danger, I want freedom, I want goodness. I want sin.’
In fact,’ said Mustapha Mond, ‘you’re claiming the right to be unhappy. Not to mention the right to grow old and ugly and impotent; the right to have syphilis and cancer, the right to have too little to eat; the right to be lousy; the right to live in constant apprehension of what may happen tomorrow; the right to catch typhoid; the right to be tortured by unspeakable pains of every kind.’
There was a long silence.
I claim them all,’ said the Savage at last.
Mustapha Mond shrugged his shoulders. ‘You’re welcome,’ he said.”
Oh, I don’t know; maybe it’s the magical red glow coming from the doorway, or perhaps it’s the deafening howl of the temporal winds.’ said Mervall.
Descant nodded.’You could be right, brother. And don’t think I don’t know sarcasm when I hear it.”