Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Singularity

In physics, a singularity is a location where the ways in which you measure data everywhere else don't apply. A black hole is a singularity. Trying to understand what goes on in a black hole using conventional logic will not work.

When we look at things like the Idle No More movement and red squares in Quebec and Ontario's ballooning deficit, we say things like, "I don't understand. Where's all the money going?"

We don't understand what's going on because we're trying to apply conventional logic. People ask for money; we give money; people are happy. Racism is bad; we decide as a society that racism is bad; people are happy. That's conventional logic.

Nobody in physics really understands how singularities work. That's because they're not dealing with people. When it comes to singularities that involve people, here's my theory:

Once upon a time, there were a group of people who were happy and undisturbed, and then, suddenly, Something Bad Happened. Now no matter what they do, they can't be happy anymore because things aren't the way they were anymore.

You can do everything in your power to fix the problem, but because you can't restore things back to the way they were before, the problem remains.

Quebec, as viewed by people within Quebec who have a grievance with English Canada, is, and was, the model society on which every other society should be built. Everything would be fine if we Anglos would just stop screwing it up. The transfer payments don't enter into it. Sure, they're nice, but lack of money isn't the real problem. The rest of Canada is the real problem. That's why in this model society of Quebec, Italian restaurants that have the word "pasta" on their menu constitute a huge problem and threat.

We can try to be nice, and we can try to understand the wrongs of the past that they feel so deeply, and we can send excruciating amounts of money, but it's all a drop in the bucket. It doesn't put things back to the way it was before the Plains of Abraham.

So it is with privileged people trying to understand the underclass, or white people trying to come to grips with the Idle No More movement, or the 1% and the 99%. You're just not going to penetrate that singularity, and you're going to be blamed for causing it, even though you personally may have nothing to do with it.

Here in Ontario, we still haven't moved on from the golden years of Bill Davis. That's why we idolize the man. Oh, for the halcyon days of Ontairy Airy Airy Oh, where the lions laid down with the lambs and elected officials came together to solve problems. This Godly person, who never let the hustle and bustle and tumult of managing Canada's economic engine disturb his famous calm in the slightest. Since those glory days, we've experimented with every fashion of government, from Bob Rae to Mike Harris, trying to recapture the magic to no avail. The best we can come up with is the lesser lord, Dalton McGuinty, who tried to duplicate Davis' comeback-from-a-minority stunt, but sadly failed. The singularity remains impenetrable.

Trying to point out that the glory days are over and that we've got a problem that needs looking at, as the Ontario PC's have been trying to do, gets you written up in the Toronto Star by Martin Regg Cohn for not putting your heads together with the people who caused the mess in the first place. Don't trouble Ontarians with talk of deficits and power plants and position papers that would change things, says Regg Cohn. And he has no reason to say any different.

For it was just a few short weeks ago that Kathleen Wynne, with her message of sunny positivity and co-operation, became Premier of Ontario, and Sandra Pupatello, with her hard-nosed talk of bringing the opposition to its knees and her own policy positions for how she'd transform Ontario, fell short. As much as Liberals were aching to crush their enemies and see them driven before them and hear the lamentation of their women, and as much as they- incredibly- were also concerned enough about the deficit to let Pupatello take the reins, it was the presence of Hazel McCallion- another of these living reminders of Ontario's storied past- in Wynne's camp, and the desire to put social progress ahead of deficit reduction, that set in motion the chain of deals that saw Wynne elevated to the highest seat in the province.

Sandra Pupatello found, to her chagrin, that in the end nobody really wants the hard way. They want the easy way. All her force and fierceness crumbled before the singularity, into which no light can penetrate.

I haven't forgotten my old friend the War Room Boss, who for so long struck down his enemies, and the enemies of Dalton's government, from within that singularity produced by the identification of Dalton with Davis and the Way It Used To Be. And when I heard about his shocked look -so different from that calm expression I've seen up close-  on that fateful Saturday when the judgement came down, and his subsequent comparison of the OLP to "the Titanic"- I felt a pang. I did.

As these and others- Bentley, Duncan, Bartolucci, and Dalton himself, along with a whole host of staffers and sycophants whose names do not deserve mention- look for another such singularity within which to situate themselves (I hear Trudeau's hiring), we, like Miss Havisham in Great Expectations, pine for the past as the mansion decays around us. So sad.

I had a dream one night that the zombie apocalypse was upon us and, before humanity succumbed entirely, they created an alternate reality game simulating the future that the undead could play. The things that were once people could somehow still remember how to log in. Whoever won the game would find the cure to the plague turning humans into monsters, but the closer you got to winning the game, the harder it became. I remember being a zombie in the real world, and being a player in the game world, but how you won was not clear during my dream. When I awoke, the meaning was obvious.

To bring about a new singularity- the technological explosion in which the illusions of the past disappear- we have to unlock the future somehow.

1 comment:

  1. ..I have my own vision. If you can give this freedom so briefly. The universe is absolute, and our mind is absolute, everything in the universe is relative, and in our mind is relative. Black holes have a singularity, galaxies are singular machines, set in any combination, or as in our galaxy there are singularities, so we are singularities. I assume that intelligence exists thanks to this paradox. Does our mind is solely a product of our brain?? Or are symbiotes, that's a good example of a singularity, a symbiosis. Ergo sum. All matter within one system singularity is the absolute and relative share of the singular system, ie 'all' has submatter, antimatter and dark matter as its integral part.