Readers of this blog will know that it has (sort of) fallen in a heap recently. Reconstruction is proving difficult. That's because after having been writing for a number of years I still haven't worked out exactly what it is really about. And in turn that's because it's been evolving from its original geological roots to something more comprehensive, spilling over into areas that maybe it shouldn't, if streams of consciousness are to be curtailed.
It began with the dismantling of Plate Tectonics and its replacement with Earth expansion, but once it's pointed out that the Earth's surface is 2/3rds mantle breaking through a retrofittable 1/3 crust - and it's pretty obvious what that must mean (about a once-smaller Earth) - then other than some mechanistic detail about the way it has come about (which I've done) there isn't much else to say about it. It's a bit like in school if you ask children, "Now children, .. who can tell me why there is day and night, and the teacher's pet in the back row says, "Yes-sir / me-sir (/three bags full sir) - it's because the Earth is rotating, sir", and you say, "Yes, thank you, pet. That's very good".
It's a bit like that in the way it can easily get off-track spilling over into :-
"Ma.a.am, .. the teacher called me his 'pet'."
"Oooh! Did he now!"
(... and whatever consequences might follow from a failure to discriminate aspects of environmental significance from those of societal (/tribal) import.)
Now, what the child says is perfectly true. And if the radiation from the sun is included then there isn't much more to say on the matter - at least from a wysiwyg point of view.
But what if the child lived long ago and didn't know what we know today about the Sun in the morning and the Moon at night - and rotation and all that? History tells us there would be all sorts of answers, particularly regarding that bit about the Sun coming and going. And what, then, about the seasons fitting in the picture? And even more particularly if the whole socio-political backstory was added in. I mean 'day-and-night' can find itself at the heart of a whole lot of things that should be discriminated more than perhaps they are. Or perhaps rather it is the opposite - that there are a whole lot of things that are connected in ways we do not recognise that if we did, life would be a whole lot simpler.
What the kid just said in four or five words you could write a book about, .. about the science and the people doing it and the related religious slaughter that happened. But where would you begin? With day and night? .. and Earth's rotation? Or perhaps with gravity. With so many interwoven threads and themes the whole thing gets to be like a symphony, but a symphony that sounds and harmonises all at once - like a standing wave. Or maybe more like a love story :-
"Say it loud and there's music playing,
Say it soft and it's almost like praying."
Trying to unravel structure in a story of symphonic proportions is not easy. It's the same with Earth expansion and the resonance that gives it dimension. What is the thread, the lead-in, when every part of the whole is as relevant as the next? And if it were to be strung out as a story, what would be the theme that moves it along? And what too might be the take-home message - the 'codec' so to speak? A story that you can sum up in (literally) three words, ["EARTH IS EXPANDING"] is hardly one to write home about. Extending it to five bullet points makes it a bit more like the bible, but if it is much more than that then it's not long before you find yourself in over your wellies, particularly if the omissions ("the biggest lies of all") that Plate Tectonics is rife with, are added. What are the facts, what are the implications, and how do you reconfigure your world view when you get home and discover that our most revered truth-teller (science - with its inbuilt safeguards of peer review to ensure consensus validity) (well, Earth science at least) has been leading us up the garden path for the last half century?
Well that's where it spills out into needing a few books, not just one, and is the reason why I'm having difficulty working out how to revise my old first draft, because I'm really not very sure what it is all about, really, .. the first book or the last one, .. or where to put divisions between them, .. or even if there are divisions.. It's moved on somehow since its geological inception to include a backstory that has little to do with the original bullet points, but is discovered nevertheless to be highly relevant to the intention of writing about it.
They do say, "ignorance is bliss", and there is more than a little truth to that because understanding things can be a fraught business. Think back to school days. The kid answering the above question only knew the answer because somebody told him. But if he had to work it out for himself then he'd have much mileage to cover even before beginning to ask the question, much less answer it, as indeed people of earlier times had to do (and suffer onerous consequences on account of their curiosity).
In an earlier attempt to deal with this potpourri to "work it out", .. I came up with a header - "The Meaning of Life and Everything" to signify the connection between science and religion and the narrow difference between navel-gazing about our place in the world (religion) and examining the world itself (science). And scribbled along in that direction for a bit. (links)
That was the first divergence. The second one followed shortly after with a variation titled, "The Pathology of Connectedness", as perhaps signifying a better way of describing the religious part generally, the situation of the individual in the group,.. how the group gets constructed then works to deny the volition of the individual, and the caution that the individual must exercise in confronting the group when anything arises to seriously disturb its equilibrium.
Or perhaps closer, .. "The Pathology of Consensus", .. the inbuilt flaw in society that produces dissent from the crowd mentality - namely any inherent societal corruption that causes people who have the situation and the potential and the capacity, to subvert consensus equilibrium - leading to (as Margaret Thatcher famously said, "There is no such thing as society") its breakdown that we are seeing at the present day and the backlash in the rise of extremism ', fundamentalism and 'terrorism', and what might arguably be called the coming of age of popular culture ("populism"), namely the appeal to the individual, tribalism and schism, rather than to the group, society and cohesion, and embodied currently in the Trump phenomenon.
Kicking it off (long before the divisiveness of Donald Trump) was a train of thought highlighting the nexus between science and religion and the guaranteed isolation of the transgressor of both. The rubric of the whole goes under the tribal mores of society generally, .. the rise of I.S. being a case in point. And even now as I write there's Marine Le Pen in France seconded by Gert Wilders in Holland latching on to Trump's proposal for a "Patriots Day", thereby resurrecting that bugbear of European tribalism much beloved of the far right - the fetishisation of gratuitous nationalism. A kind of gastrulated insecurity that turns itself inside-out and reforms as some malevolent genie that draws its energy from the fears and discontent of the collective that magicked it into reality. Tribalism masquerading as societal cohesion - "If you are not with us, you are against us."
So what is it (this blog) all about?
I'm still not sure. Through the above-mentioned parallels of science and religion, and the attendant machineries of consensus, it found itself reflecting on the human condition generally, and thereby in a place that to be truthful was not altogether healthy. While exploring the geology was fun, what wasn't fun was discovering thereby that 'malevolent genie' - namely the straight-jacket that consensus imposes on societal affairs - very necessary from one point of view, but highly problematical from another.
But illuminating nevertheless. And so this trajectory, a wheel of sorts, has returned me to my original intention. If I can impart to the reader the alternative story to Plate Tectonics that Earth expansion offers in such a way that is interesting, then the purpose of this blog is served. The 'text' is the geology. The 'subtext' is the development of the consensus that serves to maintain its authority, and, by extension, the parallels that govern many aspects of human affairs.
I've tried to keep the subtext to a minimum, but no doubt it comes through. I make no apologies for any cynicism
that may appear however. The whole thing is altogether a dastardly affair that should be referred to the International Criminal Court, or at the very least your local Ombudsman, or perhaps with more effect to the teacher's pet in the back row who is being made to learn all 'this' (and other likewise) tripe. Institutions, those bastions of consensus legitimacy, by their misbehaviour have only themselves to blame if the public regards them with distrust. And drawing attention to this by way of "customer feedback" doesn't hurt one little bit.
Consensus then, like understanding already mentioned, is a fraught business, sandwiching and often making mincemeat of the individual. By definition consensus is essential to normal science in the way it establishes the rules that enlarge the field. But likewise by definition consensus hinders development into other fields. Science of the 'cutting-edge' sort is typically an enterprise carried out by individuals and is indeed 'edgy', .. as is anything that causes the individual to take matters into their own hands in order to challenge what they see as 'corrupted' (/faulty), malpractised (consensus) norms (e.g. link). Also. [Heard as I write.]
At the present time there is no ready mechanism within mainstream science to explain the underlying cause for the increase in the Earth's size and accompanying mass. Nevertheless the formation and deformation of the Earth's crust asserts that expansion is indeed happening, and that it appears to be closely tied in some as yet unknown way to gravity, rotation and electromagnetic force. At the same time, classical physics is looking for a Grand Unified Theory that links gravity to electromagnetism. It is as if both are talking past each other about the same thing while the Earth is in a state of slow explosion, illustrating the connection that no-one is noticing but is looking for. In a sense it epitomises (searingly) society's blindness to certain inevitability if it continues "business as usual".
Could geology serve once again as an entry point to physics? If so it is certainly one that both geophysics and physics are ignoring. Readers might care to visit Gene Ellis's Blog for a view that might make the geological connection. Possibly too there are other ideas on the periphery of the mainstream that could explain Earth's size increase.
But quite apart from this and the nature of ancient worlds to be discovered in deep time, geology underpins our material well-being in the control it imposes on energy and material resources, our food security and the like, as well as having determined much of the course of human history. Its bearing on civilisation is more indirect but is just as (or even more) relevant to our everyday lives.
So I think that's what this blog has come to be about - the (dis/)connectedness of peoples seen through the lens of global geology. It has spilled out well beyond the confines of its original intent but still remains (for me at least) solidly connected in the way it highlights caution in respect of human affairs.
However the leg-in to dealing with this "symphonic standing wave of the Meaning of Life" (/'love story' /pathology) remains problematical, so perhaps it is best just to let it unravel and speak for itself. It is unfocussed but not undirected. Its intentions are positive despite the temptation (not always resisted) to be cynical in the face of such monolithic consensus founded on calculated denial and tribal self-interest as is illustrated by Plate Tectonics and sundry other societal monolithic consensuses in which the individual is mired - science, religion, killer-win (at all cost) 'sport', politics, government, judiciary, .. and so on.
Dissent from the views of Plate Tectonics began for me nearly half a century ago, but it is only recently once I started delving more into the backstory that I've come to realise that it was cobbled together by a cabal of self-confessed [their words (slightly paraphrased only) - not mine ] "outsiders who didn't have a geological clue - and didn't need any", and, because they had no understanding of what they were seeing, denied what was staring them squarely in the face - namely that 2/3rds mantle and 1/3 continents make for a retrofittable smaller Earth, and, further, to resist falling into mental and cognitive acedia, concocted the most incredible Heath Robinson story imaginable in an attempt to deny what was plainly obvious - that what we see is what we get - an Earth that is getting bigger.
And perhaps right there is the theme I am looking for, .. capturing both the overture and the recitative foundational arc of vibration of this 'Standing Mexican Wave' :-
"Hey, everybody, .. Look!!" [Raises banner /waves hands] "Outsiders - No Geological Clue. Power to the Peepul. .. Power to Patriots."]
[ Power to Oval leather and Vegemite. ]
And how come this overtook the commonsense, wysiwyg fact of Earth expansion that was already developed? No mechanism? Not all all. It was the power of prudence in the face of funding - and maintaining it. (Certainly not the science).
What can this mean for vegemite? What is the Pathology of Connectedness that links it to oval leather and an Expanding Earth?
Follow this blog and see.
=> Related pages :-
Stephen Hurrell : Dinosaurs and the Expanding Earth.
Gene Ellis : The Ionic Expanding Earth.
Jean-Paul Turcaud - Australia's Mining Pioneer.
James Maxlow :- Origin of Continents and Oceans.
John Elliston :- The Origin of Rocks and Mineral Deposits.