Shattering Apparent Similarity is an essay written and shared by Sourodip Ghoshdastidar to The Ugly Writers for the theme Love this month of May.
Shattering Apparent Similarity
One day I stumbled upon a post in Facebook. It said “Can there be any two identical entities in this world?” At a glance, one might think about twins, or atoms of the same type. All nitrogen atoms are the same they say. Same thing about number two. Or number three.
Now, what is exactly the numbers three? Or two? Yes, you might say 2 equals 2.
But number 2 does not make much sense. Two of what, you may ask. We, humans, invented numbers to represent a collection of objects. Thus without reference to an object, numbers are meaningless. So if you say two cubes of cheese- that’s one layer of abstraction. You’ve chosen the word ‘cheese’ to represent some combination of chemicals that can be eaten and tastes smelly at the same time.
But are the chemical compositions of the two exactly the same? Yes, they are depending on how much you zoom in. One cheese could have 5 percent fat and the other could have 5 percent fat. Voila! But if you zoom in close one would be 5.001 percent and the other could be 5.002 percent! That’s what makes them different. We chose to ignore the digits after the 2nd decimal position, which is why we inherently mistook the composition to be the same. So as you can see, the more you zoom in, the more you will see the differences. The actual composition could be 5.00143256.. and 5.0025799… It’s actually an unending string of digits- maybe if you were god you could really know the actual number!
Fat percentage is just one aspect of the various qualities of cheese. You could ask- how many protons does a cube of cheese have? Now you have a whole number on your hands- because the number of protons has to be exact…it cannot be a fraction.
Can two cubes of cheese each have the same number of protons? Yes absolutely! But there are more than a gazillion of protons in a cube of cheese and these protons undergo motion. Having so many protons move at the same speed- it’s not very probable. That’s only one way protons in the two cheese differ from each other. The only way to make all the protons identical is if one freezes the cubes of cheese to absolute zero- where motion stops and everything becomes stationary. However, it is still a hypothetical scenario and absolute zero hasn’t been achieved in real life. And there are things apart from motion that’s important. Or is it?
Well, how about the atoms in the human body? Even though we are just made up of atoms, the same kind found in the planets or stars, yet we move, think, and have consciousness. Take the same composition of atoms found in the human body, mix them, and wait. Will you find a human being the next day? Or a year? No. Maybe a trillion years? Perhaps. But how does this work? There must be something special going on behind the scenes that our microscopes or other scopes yet can’t ascertain. The enigma of life.
There is so much more that our so-called instruments cannot detect. Even radio signals were first detected not too long ago, JC Bose being a pioneer in sending them artificially (mentioned him because he’s Indian, and that’s where our similarity starts and ends).
Humans have always tried to find what’s going on behind the scenes- and therefore shattering apparent similarity.
Please support Sourodip Ghoshdastidar by reading his previous entries at The Ugly Writers: