Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Heisenberg Principle
Werner Heisenberg was born on 5th December, 1901, at Würzburg. He was the son of Dr. August Heisenberg and his wife Annie Wecklein. His father later became Professor of the Middle and Modern Greek languages in the University of Munich.Werner became a quantum physicist before we even knew what that was, and started publishing quantum mathematical theories when he was in his mid-twenties. This is a picture of him in 1927 when he was 26. He may be best know for his "Uncertainty Theory". You can click and read about it. He shows the math... good luck.

In addition to his "Uncertainty Theory" he also came up with what is known as the "Heisenberg Principle". He stated that an experiment is changed to the degree that we observe it. That is to say, by watching something happen we change the outcome in ways we can't even perceive.

At my CBC meeting Wednesday this idea came up and I can't stop thinking about it. (CBC is an exclusive organization of gentlemen who ponder life and it's meta-narratives on a weekly basis... or is that weakly basis? Nonetheless, it would take too long to explain the CBC so I will leave that for some other time. All I can tell you is that one of the members at the CBC meeting Wednesday wanted to make sure that the conversation was not being covertly recorded. Since I picked the meeting place I can be fairly certain there were no bugs.)

Anyway, all paranoia aside..... Here is what I can't stop thinking about.

If Heisenberg is correct and humans do change the experiment to the degree we observe it, what does that say about the 24 hour news cycle and current government? Aren't our politicians under almost 24 hour scrutiny? Haven't there been times when we have recorded our civic leaders saying one thing, only to contradict that same statement at a later date. Aren't we constantly observing, through mass media, our leaders and this experiment called government? Then I suggest, to that degree we are changing the experiment. The problem is... we can't know if we are influencing the experiment in a good way or a bad way.

In our effort to insure freedom of the press and stay informed, are we changing the course of the discussion to special interests rather than what is good for the country as a whole? Perhaps government was better when we had to wait for the weekly newspaper to come out to give us the facts of what really happened. Now we get to instantly speculate on what a our leaders MIGHT be thinking. Before they make a decision we are already against it or in support of it. No doubt we have instant news.
Instant coffee is not as good as brewed. Instant oatmeal is not as good as the kind that takes 15 minutes to actually make. Why is instant news coverage any different? There is no doubt that you sacrifice quality for quickness.

Give me the news that took a day to prepare, 24 hours to research, several rewrites to correct and an editor to re read it and make sure it is the truth. That can't be done in a "breaking story". News should be prepared and valued for its thoroughness, not glorified for its instantaneous-ness.

As you were,


Bob Conrad said...

Remember the old days when newspapers didn't have a list of corrections, back when reporters checked their facts before reporting them.

Roomie said...

I do drink instant coffee on occasion and eat instant oatmeal or more occasions than that, and I think I am one Damned happy instantaneous-ness there to your theories....and I don't want to be a member of the CDC or whatever it is....
Carry on,
Mr. "ness"