Martin Striz (striz1@MARSHALL.EDU)
Thu, 11 Dec 1997 08:54:13 +0100
Magnus, great essay! I come from the classical school
myself. Your description of making computers more dynamic
by lessening the difference between the ones and zeroes
struck me because Pirsig points out that it is a similar
effect that allowed life to evolve. Carbon rests in the
middle of the metals and nonmetals and is able to bond with
both. He writes:
"One physical characteristic that makes carbon unique is
that it is the lightest and most active of the group IV
atoms whose chemical bonding characteristics are ambiguous.
Usually the positively valanced metals in groups I through
III combine chemically with negatively valanced nonmetals in
groups V through VII and not with other members of their own
group. But the group containing carbon is halfway between
the metals and nonmetals, so that sometimes carbon combines
with metals and sometimes with nonmetals, and sometimes it
just sits there and doesn't combine with anything, and
sometimes it combines with itself in long chains and
branched trees and rings.
"Phaedrus thought this ambiguity of carbon's bonding
preferences was the situation the weak Dynamic subatomic
forces needed. Carbon bonding was a balanced mechanism they
could take over. It was a vehicle they could steer to all
sorts of freedom by selecting first one bonding preference
and then another in an almost unlimited variety of ways."
I'm taking organic chemistry right now so this passage hit
me pretty hard and I remembered it. Then it fitted very
nicely with your statements so I think you were right on.
Also, I liked your descriptions of the static levels.
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