Theoretical

By now many intellectuals regard theoretical or 'objective' knowledge as the only knowledge worth considering. Popper himself encourages the belief by his slander of relativism. Now this conceit would have substance if scientists and philosophers looking for universal and objective morality had succeeded in finding the former and persuaded, rather than forced, dissenting cultures to adopt the latter. This is not the case.

Now - how can we possibly examine something we use all the time and presuppose in every statement? How can we criticize the terms in which we habitually express our observations? Let us see! The first step in our criticism of commonly-used concepts is to create a measure of criticism, something with which these concepts can be compared. Of course, we shall later want to know a little more about the measuring stick itself; for example, we shall want to know whether it is better than, or perhaps not as good as, the material examined. But in order for this examination to start there must be a measuring-stick in the first place. Therefore, the first step in our criticism of customary concepts and customary reactions is to step outside the circle and either to invent a new conceptual system, for example a new theory, that clashes with the most carefully established observational results and confounds with the most plausible theoretical principles, or to import such a system from outside science, from religion, from mythology, from the ideas of incompetents, or the ramblings of madmen. This step is, again, counter-inductive, Counter-induction is thus both a fact' - science could not exist without it - and a legitimate and much needed move in the game of science.

Moses assigned to the body its proper tasks and similarly to the soul what falls to its share, and his earnest desire was, that the two should be waiting to relieve each other. Thus, while the body is working, the soul enjoys a respite, but when the body takes its rest, the soul resumes its work, and thus the best forms of life, the theoretical and the practical, take their turns in replacing each other. The practical life has six as its number allotted for ministering to the body. The theoretical has seven for knowledge and perfection of the mind.

Catholic doctrine tells us that the primary duty of charity does not lie in the toleration of false ideas, however sincere they may be, nor in the theoretical or practical indifference towards the errors and vices in which we see our brethren plunged but in the zeal for their intellectual and moral improvement as well as for their material well-being. . . True, Jesus has loved us with an immense, infinite love, and He came on earth to suffer and die so that, gathered around Him in justice and love, motivated by the same sentiments of mutual charity, all men might live in peace and happiness. But for the realization of this temporal and eternal happiness, He has laid down with supreme authority the condition that we must belong to His Flock, that we must accept His doctrine, that we must practice virtue, and that we must accept the teaching and guidance of Peter and his successors… He was as strong as he was gentle. He reproved, threatened, chastised, knowing, and teaching us that fear is the beginning of wisdom, and that it is sometimes proper for a man to cut off an offending limb to save his body. Finally, He did not announce for future society the reign of an ideal happiness from which suffering would be banished; but, by His lessons and by His example, He traced the path of the happiness which is possible on earth and of the perfect happiness in heaven… something quite different from an inconsistent and impotent humanitarianism.

However we select from nature a complex [of phenomena] using the criterion of simplicity, in no case will its theoretical treatment turn out to be forever appropriate (sufficient)... I do not doubt that the day will come when [general relativity], too, will have to yield to another one, for reasons which at present we do not yet surmise. I believe that this process of deepening theory has no limits.

If you want to find out anything from the theoretical physicists about the methods they use, I advise you to stick closely to one principle: don't listen to their words, fix your attention on their deeds. To him who is a discoverer in this field the products of his imagination appear so necessary and natural that he regards them, and would like to have them regarded by others, not as creations of thought but as given realities.

The longing to behold this pre-established harmony [of phenomena and theoretical principles] is the source of the inexhaustible patience and perseverance with which Planck has devoted himself... The state of mind which enables a man to do work of this kind is akin to that of the religious worshiper or the lover; the daily effort comes from no deliberate intention or program, but straight from the heart.

The area of a population’s theoretical eco-footprint depends on four factors: the population size, the average material standard of living, the average productivity of land/water ecosystems, and the efficiency of resource harvesting, processing, and use. Regardless of the relative importance of these factors and how they interact, every population has an ecological footprint and the productive land and water captured by EFA represents much of the ‘natural capital’ (productive natural resource base) required to meet that study population’s consumptive demands.
It is important to recognize that population eco-footprints constitute mutually exclusive appropriations of productive capacity. The biocapacity used by one population is not available for use by another. All human populations are competing for the available productive capacity of Earth.

So much of what we said sounded crazy, yet none of it was false... as if two theoretical physicists stood on stage to say that when we travel near light-speed, we get younger than nontravellers; that a mile of space next to the sun is different than a mile of space next to the earth because the sun-mile space is curved more than the earth-mile. Silly ideas, worth the admission price in smiles, but they're true. Is high-energy physics interesting because it's true or because it's crazy?

I was reminded of a quotation by the famous American physicist Steven Weinberg, Nobel Prize-winning theoretical physicist. Weinberg said: Religion is an insult to human dignity. Without it, you'd have good people doing good things, and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, it takes religion.

All theoretical chemistry is really physics; and all theoretical chemists know it.

It has been a mystery ever since it was discovered more than fifty years ago, and all good theoretical physicists put this number up on their wall and worry about it. Immediately you would like to know where this number for a coupling comes from: is it related to ? or perhaps to the base of natural logarithms? Nobody knows. It's one of the greatest damn mysteries of physics: a magic number that comes to us with no understanding by man. You might say the hand of God wrote that number, and we don't know how He pushed his pencil. We know what kind of a dance to do experimentally to measure this number very accurately, but we don't know what kind of dance to do on the computer to make this number come out, without putting it in secretly!

It is odd, but on the infrequent occasions when I have been called upon in a formal place to play the bongo drums, the introducer never seems to find it necessary to mention that I also do theoretical physics.

On the infrequent occasions when I have been called upon in a formal place to play the bongo drums, the introducer never seems to find it necessary to mention that I also do theoretical physics.

The more you see how strangely Nature behaves, the harder it is to make a model that explains how even the simplest phenomena actually work. So theoretical physics has given up on that.

The theoretical broadening which comes from having many humanities subjects on the campus is offset by the general dopiness of the people who study these things.

Therefore psychologically we must keep all the theories in our heads, and every theoretical physicist who is any good knows six or seven different theoretical representations for exactly the same physics.

The truly mysterious ‘object’ is beyond our apprehension and comprehension, not only because our knowledge has certain irremovable limits, but because in it we come upon something inherently `wholly other’, whose kind and character are incommensurable with our own, and before which we therefore recoil in wonder that strikes us chill and numb.

On the contrary, enjoyments can be understood and analyzed, and it is the business of psychology to analyze enjoyments.

Prudence considers the means of acquiring happiness, but wisdom considers the very object of happiness.