Sunday, November 18, 2007

PS on 'Renormalization'

As a post scriptum to my last week's post Renormalization, here is a quotation I just came across:

Thought is constantly creating problems [...] and then trying to solve them. But as it tries to solve them it makes it worse because it doesn't notice that it's creating them, and the more it thinks, the more problems it creates.


Uncle Al said...

Ignore the unknown hazards while concentrating upon the unknown solutions. When rational endeavor fails, Umpolung!

cvj said...

Niklas Luhman built his theory of social systems on top of this observation.

ChickenBreeder said...

This is like the 2nd law of thermodynamics. Any attempt to reduce entropy will only act to increase it at the end.

Or, as a real life example, if a pot has already been stirred, any attempt to un-stir it will only accelerate the mixing and cause an increase of entropy. Unless it's a crackpot. In that case, mass will leak out of the pot and entropy within the pot will decrease with time.

Chris Oakley said...


I of course agree with these sentiments. I used to think - or at least hope - that I would not be the only one who considered the search for alternatives a good use of time. But as one gets older, one sets one's sights lower, and now I would be satisfied with a mere paragraph apologising for attaching values to indeterminate quantities in QFT text books.

Bee said...

I used to think too. Must have been a while ago ;-)

Hi Clifford,

Nice profile pic :-) Thanks for mentioning Luhman! I've Googled the guy, sounds interesting..., might read some of his stuff. How come most of the people who work in this area seem to be German?



cvj said...

Sorry for the confusion Bee, i'm not Clifford Johnson, just have the same initials.

Bee said...

Ah, actually I was wondering whatever alien hijacked Clifford to choose a pic of a white guy. Apologies to both of you for the mixup. (If you're around the science blogosphere more often you might want to consider changing your nickname though.)