Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Uncertainty In "Power" And "Say"

When Heisenberg elaborated on the uncertainty principle microscopes had limited capacity.

Compared to the far more capable microscopes of today's science world, they had cataracts.

The photos show an example of a powerful microscope being used to observe and photograph atoms in diamonds.

The photo on the left is from older technology, and the one on the right is from improved technology.

Heisenberg was a physicist who studied and commented on physical power or energy dealt with by the science of physics.

In general in that science when we can "see" better we can attain more certainty. Of course a great deal of what physicists can "see" is through the lens of mathematics, and even our mathematics has some cataracts in it, as pointed out by Kurt Godel, Alan Turing, and Roger Penrose.

In the more social science of "Say" (political science, management, parenting, governance) there are analogies and comparisons to be made to that aspect of physics.

For example, the more we know about several candidates running for office, and the more we know about what that candidate must do once elected, the more certain we become about the choice we will make.

It comes down to the same principle in both physics and political science, the better we see things the more certainty there is.

In the microscope example above, some of the uncertainty comes from the use of inferior equipment, so as the technology improves the uncertainty tends to diminish.

Constitutional democracy, defined by our U.S. Constitution and the state constitutions subordinate to it, is the instrument we have developed to have the final say.

Our national notion was "we the people have developed this instrument to see our way through the use of power, which we call governing, so this is our final say".

Implicit in that notion is that the people must be able to see what needs to be done, and see into the factors that make up candidates who we will appoint to do what needs to be done, by our vote.

Defects in our ability to see, whether within ourselves or within our system of "open government", will increase uncertainty.

The test of success in this matter is determined by whether or not the people are, at any point in time, more certain of their government or less certain.

Decreasing certainty often leads to the government having to say "have faith in us", which is actually the act of making uncertainty sacrosanct, and ends up being the antithesis of our historical perspective and experience in political science.

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