Thursday, January 6, 2011

Fiction Stories, Fairy Tales, and Physics

Why fairy tales, fiction stories, and movies can be accepted so easy and with so much pleasure, yet they may have a complete disregard of physics laws? We are thought physics in school and yet that knowledge seems to be useless for many of us. Way more success and, if you wish, commercial success, can be achieved with writing completely fictional stories without any obligation to follow laws of physics in them. Why is that and how is that possible?

The answer is humans have a strong emotional faculty in their brains. Emotions, moral, then ethics is always used as a final judgment about everything that is thrown at a man. Even the newest technological inventions, never seen before, will be immediately judged by a person for its emotional, moral, ethical, human value. Yet, the reverse is not true. You can not use emotions and morals to construct, say, bridge, or electrical motor, or internal combustion engine.

With fantastic, fictional stories, as long as you present a story that has emotional, moral, ethical value in it, it does not matter whether the things inside stories are technically feasible or possible. As long as you trigger emotions, ask moral, ethical questions, explore what men and women value in their human experience, it does not matter how big is the space ship, is it possible to travel faster than light, or are there are Dragons or not. Pick something that will stir emotions, something that will show which values are in stake and don't worry if physics laws are followed or not. The story is not about a physics laws, it is about human values. The story is about which emotional, moral, sociological, personal values are at stake when you construct an engine, say, by specifying nicely boundary and initial conditions and then solve numerically (or in closed form) related partial differential equation (PDE). Engineers and physicist will do the PDE solution, but writers and philosophers will tell you what is nice or not to do with your device. However, engineers can also write a story if they shift their creative focus from specifying boundary conditions, solving numerically PDEs to answering the questions how their device will be used, and what value to humanity, society, individuals will the device, or PDE solution, have from emotional, moral, ethical point of view.

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