It's small wonder that in our postmodern world we gravitate toward spectacle and image. Perhaps we're in a transition era to radically new paradigms, but, as the December 2011 issue of Harper's Magazinemakes clear, we continue to present ourselves with more dilemmas, more questions, than answers.
Novelist-physicist Alan Lightman makes the case in his article, "The Accidental Universe," that reality may be more accidental that we've ever imagined. Both superstring theory and the theory of eternal inflation predict not one universe, as has been the Platonic dream for ages, but a mulitverse - an infinite set of universes, some theoretically dead in the abstract, many more variations of ours, many of these life-building and -supporting, some not. This makes the idea of an intelligent plan behind creation rather unlikely, our universe a randomly-positioned one.
This sort of unsatisfying end to thought processing finds artistic representation - art-imitiates-life-imitates-art-style - in Joyce Carol Oates' story, "The Good Samaritan." Oates, probably the most astute writer of short fiction today, tells us through her narrator of finding a woman's wallet on a train. As Oates builds her story, alternating it with the narrator's history, her narrator returns the wallet to the wife's husband. The husband reveals that the wife is missing - but how? Why? In the end, the suspense Oats builds spins down to nothing - a cold case, now all but forgotten.
This is the current state of affairs on Planet Earth, it seems - perhaps not devised by idiots but, as Shakespeare wrote in Macbeth, "...a tale full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."
Causes Bob Mustin Supports
Native American culture. Education. Creative writing.