'The wheel of the web brought the analogy home clearly.  Man, too, lies at the heart of a web...'
The
Physicists' Domain
the unknown,
X
'The mind that once visualized animals on a cave wall is now engaged in vast ramification of itself through time and space.  The spider was a symbol of man in miniature.'

Newborn infants start immediately developing new ways to perceive the world.  The process continues.

We have evolved perceptions that make a lot of things obvious.  We have very recently discovered, through the extended perception of science, a universe beyond the "obvious."

. . . orders of magnitude. is one of the insights that has extended our perceptions.  We live in our personal universe, a universe of about 75 years of time.  Evolution, like geology, takes place in times measured in millennia and millions of years.  And evolution "is full of traps for the beast that cannot learn."

F = ma    S = k lnW    E = mc2     Dpx´Dx ³ h/2p

'Is man at heart any different from the spider, I wonder...
"...contemplating now the nearst star with the threat of bringing with him the fungus rot from earth, wars, violence, the burden of a population he refuses to control..."
What do we see?

We have survived!  We've gone a half century of sitting on tens of thousands of nuclear weapons which in turn sit on tops of hair-triggered precision guided missiles, programmed to strike at all the major population centers on Earth.   We have successfully avoided nuclear catastrophe!

... but we haven't always avoided the self-deception that convinces ourselves that wondrous things we can imagine are real, when in fact they are not yet achieved.


 




 

We know.  We have faith in what we know.
What did we miss there?

We have sat for years and years at the bases of volcanos that we perceived  to be "extinct."  Mt St. Helens was one of those.

...  geologists have always told us that Mt St. Helens is as far from "extinct" as possible, that it is a very active volcano.  But we watched it year in, year out, a decade here, a decade there.  Nothing happened.  We didn't believe the evidence the geologists saw—in time scales we barely perceive.  We were blind to their logic.  Then....


Mt St Helens -- May 19, 1980
elev May 17: 9677'    --     elev May 19: 8364'
And what more do we need to see?

"To a child I shall give wings, but I shall let him learn to fly on his own."

Gabriel Garcia Marquez

... Seeing the tragic flaws of egocentrism and ethnocentrism rather seems to be a bit beyond the range of easy human perception.  Perhaps we can guide the wonder and curiosity of that child toward development of the needed perceptions. 

Today's children will make tommorrow's decisions.  Perceptions they will develop must reveal to them the insight that egocentric "compassion" may well be tryanny with those whose viewpoints they were blind to as its victims.
 

'Is man at heart any different from the spider, I wonder... Let not the child develop pseudo-compassion or pseudo-science.

What can we do?

CLICK ON THE LITTLE GIRL IN THE SOLIPSISM SIMULATOR
or
Go to the University of Washington Physics Education Group

But first, perhaps, go TO THE  PUZZLES OF KNOWLEDGE FOR USE for a revealing first glance at the problem.