Higgs Bosun and Huck Finn

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Fair Winds and Current on the Alton Pool

Last week the Nobel Prize for Physics was awarded to two guys who confirmed that all stuff exists in a sea of energy. The Laureates explained that the dark voids of the universe are more like molasses than Tanqueray Gin. The sea of energy known as the Higgs Field is precisely where It was built and to where everything, including us, came to be.

Visualize the universe as a snorkeler would while exploring a coral reef three meters below the surface. You’ll wear a diving mask because human eyes are made to see through air not water. The mask puts a barrier of air between your eyes and the water so that you can see clearly. There are zillions of particles a millions times smaller than anything visible. What you can’t see even with goggles makes the universe happen. Every gazillion or so of these minute particles is an unstable piece of stuff that makes much of the universe matter. It’s the missing piece of the creation of the universe – the fuse that set off the Big Bang. In a universe that appears perfect this one tiny, incredibly complex and unstable particle broke the perfect symmetry between dark and light, matter and energy. This Higgs Boson particle energizes nothing into everything.  We are all children of this ocean of energy.

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Ex Libris on the hook behind Slim Island – Holding Against the Flow

Quantum physics has finally answered the age-old question, “What’s the matter?” Matter is everything that interacts with energy. Stuff encounters a lot of resistance along the way and that’s known as matter. You know matter because you can feel its resistance – like poking the Pillsbury Doughboy. Unlike emotional anxiety or depression that destabilizes people, matter is made to deal with resistance. We matter because we flow with energy. Dealing with friction or drag doesn’t stop us from being – it is what causes us to be something of matter.

Huckleberry Finn understood that things that matter change other things. People who never get to be on the river don’t understand the freedom of getting away from stuff. Huck found it lovely to live simply on a raft with the sky “up there, all speckled with stars.” He and Jim spent many a languid evening just looking up and debating whether the stars “was made” or simply “happened”. Huck figured there were so many stars that it would take too long to make them – so they must’ve just happened.

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Courtesy of Captain Ron, “If it’s gonna happen, Boss, it’s gonna happen out there.”

The Nobel winners would probably sit on Huck’s raft, puff on their pipes and nod. Seems something came along and spanked that dark empty space up there above the river and found it wasn’t nothing a’tall – it was some thing. Outer space is a big jiggly thing that sort of snapped a bit when God only knows what gave it a spanking and a little teeny tiny speck o’ stuff – so tiny it could hide behind light – flew off. That little Higgs Boson rogue was different from all the other stuff. It didn’t spin around and around like other particles and it gets smaller and smaller the longer it exists. Then the universe started to move and more stuff was made as things moved through the Higgs force field.  Pretty soon that energy and stuff were everywhere making galaxies, planets, life and everything known to be something, happen.

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Resistance Makes it Matter More

And so it is that a young freckled kid born of Twain’s imagination became as real to readers as the Higgs Boson, “God Particle” is to scientists. Some people are closest to nature and answers to eternal questions when like Huck, they “escape cramped and smothery places” to “feel mighty free and comfortable aboard a raft”. A raft is as good as any place to ponder the unknown. To exist as a human being or an Asian Carp is matter that deals with energy. Like the flow of the river it’s something that just is. Huck Finn felt free and easy when he was on the river, away from land. The stuff between people became matterless  while onboard a raft. The stuff back on land seems to have no mass, or to quip in Spanish, “No mas”, our worries weigh nothing.

Huck found that by lying comfortably aboard his raft he came to understand that some things happen to be because it takes a bunch of energy to make them be and energy’s gotta do something. The God particle is everywhere – within and around everything in the universe. It’s an energy field that is felt but not seen and only recently begun to be understood.  It always was, is and will be, part of Huck’s river.

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Mass and Energy

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