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ANAHITA  December 1999

ANAHITA December 1999

Subject:

Re: historical events

From:

Veronica Schanoes <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Women and Gender in the Ancient World <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 22 Dec 1999 12:24:04 -0500

Content-Type:

TEXT/PLAIN

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

TEXT/PLAIN (182 lines)

Hey,

sounds all very Descartes-meditations to me, which I've never really
seen the point of...I quite like our senses!

--Veronica

On Wed, 22 Dec 1999, Phoebe Allison wrote:

> Janeen, Veronica, et all:
> Glad you found the comments about truth and history worth commenting on.
>
> There are philosophers, theologists and, I believe, even physicists, who would question even the reality of TIME as we percieve it.  The idea is that time does not exist apart from our creation of it in our mental constructs.  I have seen the concept advanced that what exists is only the NOW.  We are constantly creating the past and future from the NOW in which we are standing.
>
> That is perhaps even a more dangerous and frightening idea.  If that were to be the case, how could it be proved or disproved, and what IS real?
>
> I apologize if these comments are outside the scope of this forum.  I am a newcomer here.
>
> >>> Janeen Grohsmeyer <[log in to unmask]> 12/21/99 11:37PM >>>
> Veronica wrote:
>
>
> >I actually find the comment below:
>
> [from Phoebe]
>   It occurred to me a while ago that living in a post-Einstein world, we
> could now look at history differently.  Just as physicists now know that
> every physical observation affects the event observed, so we can be aware
> that a "historical event" as such does not exist.  There are only the
> obervations and interpretations that we create.  The actual "truth" of the
> "historic event" may be unknowable, if there even is such a thing.
> >>
>
> >quite offensive and dangerous in its
> >implications.  We may not be able to ascertain beyond a shadow of a doubt
> >what exactly happened long ago, but that does not mean that historical
> >events "do not exist."
>
> I think perhaps we should define the terms  "events" and "history."  Events
> happen and affect our lives.  This is undeniable, and Veronica gives
> excellent and telling examples.
>
> But the history of the events, the way we remember the events, the way we
> tell stories about the events--this is subject to many interpretations, and
> as Phoebe points out (along with at least one other famous person I can
> think of) the question "What is truth?" is not easily answered.
>
> Even 2 + 2 has different answers, depending on the coordinate system and
> number base one uses.
>
>
> Veronica continues:
> >We may not be able to be exact in our knowledge of events which took place
> >thousands of years ago,
>
> Or ten years ago. Or two days ago.  The different reports about the protests
> at the World Trade Organization meetings made that clear.
>
>  but it seems to me that to therefore infer that
> >historical events do not exist is rather self-centered.
> >
> When I read what Phoebe wrote, I interpreted it to mean that the *truth*
> about the event might not exist, not that the event never happened.
> Personally, I would say that many truths exist, all simultaneously and some
> seemingly contradictory.
>
> Using modern physics again, is light a wave-energy form or is light made of
> particles?  The answer is yes, depending on the circumstances of the
> experiment and the observer.
>
> Einstein's famous equation E = M c ^2 means that energy IS mass, and mass IS
> energy.  Mass is just energy that is "cooled down" enough to have settled
> into a "solid" kind of form.  One way to think of it is to look at boiling
> water.  Some of the water molecules get hot enough to leave the liquid and
> become steam.  The liquid is like the mass-part, the steam is like the
> energy-part, but both are still water.
>
> So things are  both mass and energy, both wave and particle.  When we touch
> something with our hands, it feels solid, yet it's also whirling webs of
> electro-magnetism (energy) from the atoms.  Our perceptions of things is
> both true and untrue, all at the same time.
>
> Query: If no one remembers a historical event (say, a tribe dying out of a
> disease on a remote island), does it impact our history?  How does "Those
> who do not remember the past are doomed to repeat it" fit in?
>
> >Actually, the ideas that there is no truth, and that events do not have
> >reality undermine the basis of feminism.
>
> Can we come up with a definition of feminism?  I'm afraid I don't use the
> word anymore, because nobody seems to agree on its meaning.
>
> >
> >Heisenberg's uncertainty principle states, I believe, that it is
> >impossible to know exactly where a given atom is.
>
> True.  Heisenberg's uncertainty principle specifically is:
>
> h >= 4* pi * (uncertainty of position) * (uncertainty of momentum)
>
> where h is Planck's constant and is equal to 6.626E-34 Joules*seconds.
>
> So, we can *never* know everything there is to know about something.  You
> can never know exactly how fast somehting is going or what its mass is or
> where it is.
>
> This was a major blow to the Newtonian physicists, who had thought they
> could just keep breaking the universe down into little parts and finally map
> out everything.  Instead, the universe is fuzzy, and ultimately we  can NOT
> know everything.  Complete knowledge (like complete truth) is denied.
> Chaos theory has added to this randomness and unknowableness.
>
> Some physicists see this as evidence of free will.
>
> For the historian, it implies that while historical events may be described,
> it is impossible to ever fully and accurately describe all possible
> ramifications and interpretations of any event.  (I suspect we knew that
> already. <g>)
>
> But we should remember, any time and every time we read one account of an
> event, that somebody else could write a different account, and the accounts
> can contain contradictory facts, yet still both can be true.  And both can
> be false.
>
> And both can be worth reading.
>
> Janeen Grohsmeyer
>
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