Big news this week was the discovery of the Higgs Boson or, as cautious scientists say, the discovery, to 99.99997% certainty, of a new ‘state’ having an energy level of 125 GeV and seemingly consistent with what a Standard Model Higgs Boson is expected to be.
What’s charming about the Higgs Boson is that it proves the existence of the Higgs Field which, it’s claimed, was up and running one-trillionth of a second after The Big Bang. The Higgs Field explains why protons have mass and stick together to form the nucleus of atoms. Once they do, we pretty much know what happens next – but not, of course, what happened before, or why. Apparently, there wasn’t much of a ‘before’ before, because, if you’ve been following recent developments in string theory, the dimension of Time itself had only just ‘sprung’ into existence.
BTW, all this isn’t something I discovered myself, it’s just something I read about. It’s, like, an ‘introduction’. Stay with me. So, according to string theory, any possible universe has a maximum of twelve dimensions but our particular universe just happens to have the four dimensions of Length, Width, Breadth and Time. We have to live with what we have.
It’s frightening to think that every bad song lyric containing the words ‘beyond space and time’ was, in a sense, true. On the bright side, now, if anyone asks you “What is this mysterious force that makes The Universe hang together?” you can say, “Why that’d be the Higgs Field of course!” instead of looking at your shoes for a while before sheepishly suggesting “err… Love?” or something equally inane.
Which brings me to my point.
If we, mankind, the people on the planet … are clever enough to make such a theory as the Standard Model, the equipment to prove or disprove it, and to then go on to ask further clever questions about dark matter, supersymmetry and such, then why, I ask you, don’t we understand why our buildings look the way they do!!?? It’s not, even, as they say, rocket science.
In terms of aesthetic progress, our world is still flat. We randomly arrange resources across Length, Width and Breadth and in Time so they look new for a while and old forever after. How we design and construct buildings is not progressing towards any type of perfection. We are no closer to understanding why one particular arrangement of stuff looks more special than some different arrangement. Is Beauty really all that mysterious? Or even that important? Might it not be that we’ve just taken a phenomena we don’t understand, given it the name Beauty, and have become accustomed to claiming that its elusiveness only proves its awesome magic? What if, just if, it was possible to pin it down, explain it, and understand it? Would we even want to know?
As with all rhetorical questions, you can be fairly confident that the person asking is going to want to offer you an answer fairly shortly.