Monday, July 14, 2008



We started with a universe that came with no instructions,
And had to figure things out by assumptions and deductions.

The first snag we ran into was the drastic limitation
Of using just our senses as the means of observation.
For though our instruments can magnify both far and small,
The fraction that we glimpse is scarcely anything at all.

Some think the cosmos is like a machine that has no flaws,
And keeps on working perfectly by dint of natural laws.
But laws are just what we invent in order to explain
Our observations in a way that makes sense to the brain.

We understood that gravity’s a force of great attraction
That worked, as Newton told us, by an inverse square abstraction.
For centuries, that theory fit the purposes it served,
But now that model’s obsolete, and space itself is curved.

And though we learned the earth goes round the sun, not otherwise,
That viewpoint mainly differs in the math it simplifies.
For certainly it’s simpler just to plot the planets’ motion,
But simple‘s in the human mind, a quite subjective notion.

We keep inventing models that exhibit this causality
And if they work, we dignify them with the name reality.
A straight line’s one example. We all know a line, of course, is
The path a moving object takes when free of outside forces.

But objects do not obey laws as if they were just slaves.
We made up lines and laws to fathom how a thing behaves.
And likewise, the ellipse is just a shape that we invented.
There are no orbits out there on which planets ride, contented.

Our theories all are just like engineering in reverse,
To figure out how we might make a working universe.

No comments: