I think I wrote this one in 2003. I called it ‘Arguments’, and it’s a piece of dialogue.
It’s not a matter of not believing, it’s about asking, ‘What’s the connection?, How could I possibly be influenced by something so far away?, What’s the nature of the force that’s acting?’
Does there have to be a force?
Of course. Because that’s all there is. There’s matter, and there’s energy, and we call their interaction ‘force’. And that’s all there is.
What if you’re wrong? What if there’s more out there than you know about?
It would still have to be a force of some kind. Look, you say you think we’re influenced by the planets. Can you prove it?
Can you disprove it?
No, but I can show you how unlikely it is. Look, the only force we know about that acts at a distance is gravity – the other three forces are all close-up things. So let’s look at how you might be influenced by Jupiter – the biggest planet in the solar system. Its mass is more than 300 times the mass of Earth, but it’s nearly 500 million miles out from the sun. We’re just over 90 million miles out, so at its closest approach, Jupiter is still over 400 million miles away from us. The force of attraction of gravity diminishes by the square of the distance between two bodies, so the force between our two planets at our closest approach, if we take Earth’s mass as 1 and Jupiter’s as 300, would be a fifth of a million millionth of a unit. Tiny. Now what if our planets aren’t close together – which is most of the time? They have hardly any influence on each other. And that’s planets. How could a planet influence people?
I don’t know, but I still think it does.
Look, there are any number of other factors that definitely influence our characters – genetics, environment, education, our different societies. Why do you have to go looking for something that can’t be proved, when there are so many things that can?
What about Fate?
No such thing. There’s blind chance, random events, and our own innate predispositions.
There’s always room for for coincidence. Doesn’t mean it means anything.
We’re not going to get on, are we?
Why not? Maybe I enjoy arguing.
Maybe I don’t.
Copyright © Colin Will, 2003