Feynman’s Question

One might ask why is it possible for Donald Trump to stay reasonably happy when woefully ignorant of the science of the world he lives in?

“I say, and I think you must all know from experience, that people– I mean the average person, the great majority of people, the enormous majority of people– are woefully, pitifully, absolutely ignorant of the science of the world that they live in, and they can stay that way. I don’t mean to say the heck with them, what I mean is that they are able to stay that way without it worrying them at all– only mildly– so from time to time when they see CP* mentioned in the newspaper they ask what it is. And an interesting question of the relation of science to modern society is just that– why is it possible for people to stay so woefully ignorant and yet reasonably happy in modern society when so much knowledge is unavailable to them?”
Richard Feynman, in The Pleasure of Finding Things Out, 1999

*From Wikipedia: CP-symmetry, often called just CP, is the product of two symmetries: C for charge conjugation, which transforms a particle into its antiparticle, and P for parity, which creates the mirror image of a physical system. The strong interaction and electromagnetic interaction seem to be invariant under the combined CP transformation operation, but this symmetry is slightly violated during certain types of weak decay. Historically, CP-symmetry was proposed to restore order after the discovery of parity violation in the 1950s.

Einstein lecturing at the College de France, Paris 1922


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s