Unthought Questions

15 Mar 2012

OrbitalPete on reddit/AskScience:

The universe is not expanding into anything. Our brains are not well equipped to visualise this, and trying to simplify it to an ‘everyday’ picture is not really practical, as the simplifications are so important.

I have disparaged reddit before solely on the basis that I distrust groups, no matter the quality of the individuals. The herd is not to be trusted, despite the appearance that it can tap into greatness. I say “appearance”’ because it is only realized by the will of a few incredible individuals – those free souls that are able to bring noise to the quiet and the desperate.

Such thinking becomes problematic when one comes across discussions like such as that which spawned the above quote. Someone, with an earnest desire to make sense of a complex topic, asked the reddit community to help them understand what was on the other side of space. In fact, many people got involved and there were numerous pieces of fruit to admire and taste. That is to say, it was fruitful. What is so wrong with making our phrases bloom?1

I have been a cynic for a long time and online for even longer, but I am just now starting to warm to Internet communities. Yet another instance where it is nice to be proven wrong. As I learn more about the world around me (both the natural and the constructed), I become aware of how much more there is for me to discover. Or, as jasontimmur put it: “this just goes to show me there are so many questions I haven’t even thought of.”

  1. That is to say, what is the problem with flowery language?