Monday, 30 September 2013

Writing About Asia -- Words and Prejudice

(I wrote this piece for the Hong Kong Writers Circle on-line newsletter to substitute for a panel discussion planned earlier.)

Writing about something as dynamic and diverse as Asia at this exciting juncture could be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for writers living here; but chances are most of us would miss it.

Asia is changing at an unprecedented rate, causing a historic paradigm shift yet to be understood, hence the challenge. Most people, writers included, are more comfortable with familiar patterns and hindsight than gazing into the unknown, particularly when the road to future appears chaotically revolutionary as well as hesitantly evolutionary.

When we “write about Asia”, therefore, we could be talking about a dramatically different place depending on whether it’s in the past, present, or future.

文字与偏见 —— 有关亚洲的写作




Friday, 6 September 2013

Calculus of Predetermination


Reality being increasingly counter-intuitive is not only a problem in politics. Quantum mechanics is also taking us further and further away from the neat and simple perception of reality that Homo sapiens have enjoyed for millennia. The more we think we know, the less sure we become. Perhaps it’s meant to be. 

The latest dilemma is that “Reality, Relativity, Causality, and Freewill” cannot coexist (New Scientist No.219 Vol 2928, 3 Aug 2013). One of them has to go. But which one? To me, the answer is obvious: Freewill! 

I suspect General Freewill to be an anthropocentric delusion spawned by arrogance and wishful thinking, a notion I briefly entertained fictionally in Man’s Last Song. Believe it or not, I reached this conclusion through a mathematical approach. Well, kind of.


English Version: Calculus of Predetermination 

量子物理學目前面對的問題與國際政治很相似。兩者都越來越 違反常理,與直覺 現實不符,甚至不可思議。我們自以為知道得越多,就越糊塗。1383號的新科學家New Scientist)的一篇文章歸納得很好:現實,相對論,因果關係,和人的自主,四樣東西不能並存。要解決矛盾,必須否定其中一樣。但四個概念均被視為基本,要開除一個並不容易。

我卻認為答案很明顯:廢除自主!因為所謂自主,無非人類的自大幻覺。這點我在小說 「笙歌」(Man’s Last Song)也略略討論過。