Saturday, July 25, 2015

Zeno and Nano

Zeno was a lonely man. In a sleepy town of Velia on the coast of Tyrrhenian Sea he only had his friend Parmenides for company. Velia was ravaged so many times that the only professions that prospered there were Philosophy and Prostitution. People would come to this city to be stripped naked either by Philosophers or Prostitutes or sometimes both.

Zeno was very ugly for a Greek. Socrates nose, ordinary face and small questioning eyes. Of his seven siblings he was the least loved of his parents. He appeared to have a problem with everything. He questioned every idea, every belief around him. He could not make sense of very obvious things in his life. He spent most of his childhood to get a glimpse of the time passing. He would argue - What has passed? He could not see anything passing, yet the world around him changed every moment. Maybe nothing passes, we just hop on from one world to another.Every world being only slightly different so as to give us an impression of something passing. But again he could not see himself hopping around either. The world just did not make sense to him.

He would spend evenings chatting with the only people who he believed understood something about the world - the famous prostitutes of Velia. Zeno would explain them why the whole world did not make sense and they would nod saying - "Yes we know".

He would never want the sun to go down. The nights were cruel. Forever sleepless, he was waiting for something, someone. The missing piece of the cosmic puzzle. He fell in love with the missing piece that would forever elude him. This is where is postulated the famous paradox of motions. While it is explained in many ways, what Zeno framed originally was about a man and his love across the river Alento.

If a man and his love are on the opposite sides of the River Alento and the man starts swimming across the river towards his love, will he ever reach her? He argued that the man would need cross half the river first, so he will still be left with another half. When he crosses the second half of the river there is half of the half still left. No matter how far he goes there will still be a part left for him to cross. There was no way he could get across the Alento. His love would forever be an unfulfilled quest.

He however saw people crossing rivers everyday. He just could not make sense of it, there was the missing piece he could not find. This was the missing piece he loved more than anything. He died looking for it.

2400 years after him, we know what he was looking for. Zeno was looking for his Nano. Nano was the missing piece of the puzzle. Nano is where the weirdness begins. Nano is a term attributed to things of the scale of 10 ^ (-9). This is the scale where the quantum behavior sets in. This is where you start growing week on your knees, your senses stop being your guide. You are left alone in Nano's company.

Nano will hold your hand and take you into this weird world. Unable to see, hear , touch, smell or taste you can only feel in this world. You can feel color , texture and smell without actually seeing, touching or smelling. She would show how gold has a different color here, how space-time continuum is warped around carelessly as if in a perpetual immobile stretch. The further we we walk with her the weirder it gets. Deep into this world there is place where existence becomes an idea. We cannot walk any further. She says it is Planck's wall. We have reached at  10 ^-33 cms. She has never been any further, the world beyond this does not exist.

Zeno did not realize that he could not keep subdividing space infinitely. Eventually he would hit the Plancks wall and no further subdivision would be possible. There would ultimately be a finite distance to travel. But Nano was not there to tell Zeno, Nanos did not exist then.

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