Monday, February 05, 2007

A Journey to the White Spaces

"He looked at maps, and wondered what lay beyond their edges: maps made in the Shire showed mostly white spaces beyond its borders." --The Fellowship of the Ring

There are things about the old world one may miss. For me, it is living in a mysterious world; one in which you can imagine anything you like about what lies a few miles away. A world in which "the road" is the start of a journey you do not know about its end.

"It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door. You step into the Road, and if you don't keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to. Do you realize that this is the very path that goes through Mirkwood, and that if you let it, it might take you to the Lonely Mountain or even worse places?"

I get disappointed when I think about what we call "a road" today. You can drive as much as you like and you will keep seeing signs saying, "Qom 40", "Esfahan 175", "Ahvaz 680", and things like that.

When I think more about it, our maps do show white spaces beyond our planet; Well, yes, they are usually painted black and there are small white points on them our physicists can tell you exactly what atoms they are made of. What the physicists cannot tell you, is how it looks like to live there (and even their information about what they are made of [or even if they exist or not] is a little bit out-dated; they cannot tell you anything about our neighbor galaxy, Andromeda, newer than 2.5 million years ago). So we do have white spaces; quite exciting. The disappointing fact is that we cannot take a backpack and start a trip to see the mountains ("Mountains Gandalf, mountains!"). I believe a time will come, sooner or later, that people will be able to do that. I don't have much hope that I will be alive by that time. Seems we are in the wrong time.

Maybe years later, a grand grandchild of me will take a backpack and start a journey towards the white spaces to see the lonely mountain. Maybe, on the road, he/she will be singing:

The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

kara elektito:

ni kvankam decidis bedauxri la projekto pri fantasta tradukmetiejo!
ne demandu, ne priparolu, nur venu kaj traduku kaj komentu kaj fantastu!!!

sincere

FIFIo/ Regxidino

Homayoon said...

Certe, via reĝina moŝto!

Anonymous said...

Your wishes are as much of a FANTASY as the LORD OF THE RINGS itself. If our maps show white spots of no specific distance, how do you know that the first one will not be the abyss of your last journey? We as human beings are created to be UNABLE to explore the whole world physically. The unlimitted path to go & to expect good things to happen is in the world of ethics not that of phisics. When you grow older, I'm confident you will feel more at peace about it.
All the best.
Uto

ali t said...

engineering mathematics,how did it go?

Homayoon said...

> Your wishes are as much of
> a FANTASY as the LORD OF
> THE RINGS itself

This is, you know, a great honor if my wishes are as much of a fantasy as LotR itself. I'm a big fan of LotR, and as a person which much likes to fantasize and then live in a world of fantasy (well, at least sometimes) it is great if my wishes are as great as LotR.

> how do you know that the
> first one will not be the
> abyss of your last journey?

I don't know, neither did Bilbo Baggins when he started his journey with the band of dwarves. But, even speaking of the real world, I may choose to go on that One journey than to live a boring life (I don't mean that I have a boring life now! :))

> We as human beings are created
> to be UNABLE to explore the whole
> world physically.

I don't agree with you on this point. I can neither believe that we are Created, nor that we are "UNABLE to explore the world physically." I have learned that we (human beings) should not consider our limited knowledge as everything possible. If we take a close look at the history of science, many things earlier considered *impossible* has already happened.

> The unlimitted path to go &
> to expect good things to
> happen is in the world of
> ethics not that of phisics.

I'm not quite sure what you mean by this. Only, IMHO, the path is not unlimited but (very much) far. If our today's knowledge does not provide a way (or even show a slightly understandable means) to travel such distances physically, it doesn't mean our future science cannot show us something unexpected. Arthur C. Clark says, "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from Magic." We can expect everything from magic!

> When you grow older, I'm
> confident you will feel
> more at peace about it.

Maybe you're right. I don't know, and I have no way to know other than waiting to see what happens. Meanwhile, I can enjoy living in a fantasy world. I hope I will never lose this ability. "Imagination is more important than knowledge." --Albert Einstein.

Thank you for your comment, Uto.

Jeremiah said...

I also have to respectfully disagree with Uto. It may be correct that humans will never be able "to explore the whole world physically." Perhaps God does not intend for us to be able to do so. There are certainly limits to human capacity and understanding (but as long as we humbly admit that, then I do not believe human efforts are an affront to God).

However, we don't know our own limits. So who is to say that we won't, or shouldn't, explore much of the universe? True, curiosity and exploration carry with them the risk of falling into some kind of abyss. But those who risk nothing, gain nothing, and those who do nothing can still loose everything. For example, you can stay at home and have a common accident; thus falling into that abyss, death.

Finally, although our path in this life is not unlimited, and although it is unreasonable to only "expect good things to happen" in this world, I picture heaven as a place where "the road goes ever on and on." So there is hope that the journey doesn't have to end.

Anonymous said...

I appreciate both of you(Homayoon & Jeremiah) for putting so much time on commenting on my note. What I wanted to convey is not preferability of sitting there and just watch and not to try to explore. I wanted to say that if we try to explore more tangible facts, we are more likely to achieve more results. After all we are human beings with a very limitted life compared to the history and future of the world. As a believer in life after death, I think, we, when relieved from the limittation of our physical existance, will have a bigger chance to see and understand a bigger part of the creation. As you know, if matter travels at the light speed, its substance will grow. Considering that even by traveling at that speed, it will take belions of years to reach the limits of the universe (if any), we can't count on a big achievement if we set it as our goal to explore the very far realities. So, I was just trying to recommend the preferability of more tangible objectives.

Cheers
Uto

Homayoon said...

First of all, *I* should thank you for spending time commenting on my post.

You may be right about the fact that "if we try to explore more tangible facts, we are more likely to achieve more results." However, this way our results will be in a very limited area. In general, we need both kind of people. Those who think about unlikely (or likely impossible) subjects become likes of Einstein. But of course, we cannot live in a society in which everyone is an Einstein. BTW, I don't claim that I am like Einstein! :)

I know about the physical fact that mass increases as we approach light speed. Since, as you said, light speed is itself far slow for space travel, it may not be what we need. I can think about several alternatives, but usually in reality we have much more powerful options than we can imagine. Many things we have today are far beyond the imagination of people who lives centuries ago.

I have two more things to discuss. First, although we are physically limited, IMHO that limitation is time-bound. That is, we are limited physically, and so we will be forever, but we can get over our current limitations during some time. I mean, what we are currently limited to, may not be necessarily a limitation a century later. Besides, our mental limitations are far less than the physical ones. So we can "create" things in our mind, that we cannot have in the outside world; and that's what I have been trying to do when writing this post (you may prefer to use the term "sub-create", like J.R.R. Tolkien used to do. He, as a faithful Christian, thought it is more correct to use the term "creation" only for "the Creator.")

"Creating" impossible things in our minds, is the major source of all major achievement we have had, and besides that it makes us a great thing we call "literature."

Again, thank you Uto and thank you Jeremiah. I really love it when people read my posts and comment on them. This means that my posts have been, at least a little bit, worth thinking about!

Harald said...

We are all on the road, and nobody knows where it will take us (there) and who will be lucky to say: Well, I'm back (and back again)