Friday, 6 July 2012

Does the discovery of The Higgs Boson change the way we look at the world?

The recent discovery of the Higgs Boson tries to define how this particle gives mass to matter. As we delve inwards we realise that their are more mysteries that defy our understanding than what we can see in the external world. At one time, the atom was supposed to the the smallest particle in the universe, but then as science developed, it became clear that there are particles smaller than the atom, whether they are neutrons, or protons, and now the God particle! As we delve deeper and deeper into the sub-atomic world, we realise that there is more to this world than meets the eye! I remember that when the earlier attempt was being made to identify the Higgs Boson, people came out with various theories that it would bring about the end of the world, and, that a black-hole would result which would swallow the entire world! This, has not happened, and scientists at CERN have established the presence of this so far elusive particle, the fundamental particle which gives matter its mass! So then would this mean that if you have matter which has a mass, then, there should through the law of opposites be anti-matter, something which robs matter of its mass? An exact opposite of the Higgs Boson?
scientists working on the experiment suggest rather excitedly that matter obtains mass by interacting with the Higgs field, rather like a magnet being passed through iron filings causing them to clump together in a lump! In retrospect I can’t help going back to the days when I was fed on science fiction, specially books written by Isaac Asimov,  Brian Aldiss,  Arthur C.Clarke, and even the Classic science fiction writers like Jules Verne, and H.G.Wells that there is no limit to the possibilities of discoveries that exist in our world. The slew of scientific discoveries being announced today suggests that we can no longer be complacent in our view of the world as a stable and fixed home. The world is in a constant state of flux, it is ever changing as new discoveries take place which have the effect of shaking our perception of the world as it exists. While no doubt the discoveries of Kepler, Copernicus and even Galileo did shake a world that believed that the earth was the centre of the universe, it did not stop the progress of scientific rationality and reasoning. The predominant belief of catholic belief had to accede to the proofs backed by scientific reasoning. For a long time Newtonian thought propounded the belief that every action has an equal and opposite reaction, but the studies in the field of Quantum physics have suggested otherwise. Quantum physics suggests that at the sub-atomic level, predictability takes a back-stage and the Law of Randomness takes  precedence. 
For a world fed on a diet of predictability, the discovery of the Higgs Boson  is likely to bring further changes to the way we look at the world. Further questions remain as to whether the list of discoveries will end here. Will scientists now attempt to discover a Soul Particle? It seems as though the list of discoveries will be infinite in the same way as a set of mirrors set face to face will display an infinite series of images or reflections! So then, does the secret of the universe exist in each small particle we discover? Is it that the answers to our questions exist within rather than without? Should we delve deeper and deeper into sub-atomic particles to know why we are what we are, and what our our future will be? Have we been looking at the wrong place to find out the meaning or our existence? These questions lead us to further mysteries, the existence of which leads our investigation towards a particular direction. While I would not like to philosophise in an abstract sense, it is rather the thought that suggests the answer. No doubt, it was the dream that led to the invention and so I suppose it is what we think that modifies or colours out perception of the universe as it exists!
So, then does it perhaps mean that our spirituality is in direct conflict with the way the world exists, or is it that we have stuck to our beliefs in a rather rigid manner, not trying to understand what the scriptures are trying to tell us? Is it perhaps that the existence of the Higgs Boson reaffirms what our scriptures have been trying to tell us all the time, the presence of An Almighty Maker? The book of Genesis states in chapter 1:1-4, “ In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. and the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from darkness.” The rest of the chapter describes the creation of the world as we know it. It is this direction, this creativity, this lending of purpose and form to the Universe that suggests that what we have discovered about the Higgs Boson has already been written about in the book of Genesis! If the giving of mass to matter is what makes the difference to the world as we know it then hasn’t God done that already? I very strongly believe that the discovery of God particle only reaffirms the presence of a benign presence, a creator who has gifted this beautiful world to us as a gift that we should cherish. He has given us a world which is purposeful and and meaningful, and based on the principle of rationality coupled with that little bit of unpredictability which makes everything so mysterious and so wonderful!

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