Monday, February 22, 2010

Why {∞} Tattoo ??

What's with the tattoo on your hand, Aaron?

My friend Joe Springrose, a talented graphic designer, saw my tat and used it to create my company logo. So, what's the thing mean? Here's the short history:

The tattoo is a (typo-)graphical representation of my Grand Unified Theory which goes like this:

{∞} = The idea of Everything Everywhere, Love, and/or G0d.  One can create the infinity symbol by hitting "option-5" on a standard keyboard,  bounded (but not entirely) by brackets, signifying the following ideas:

1. The smallest thing possible, the ultimate fundamental building block of physics (represented as a string a la M-Theory, moving in a figure eight pattern in space. I must note here that I don't think there are multiple "universes", but that's a longer entry.  According to me and  They Might Be Giants, "there's only one everything".)

2. The one largest thing (represented by infinity) i.e. All of Everything Everywhere. (Again, "there's only one Everything").

3. The brackets, sometimes used in prose to signify a series of equal choices. Since the smallest and largest are signified by the infinity symbol in my icon/symbol, bracketing the symbol can be interpreted typographically as "smallest and largest being equal". The symbol is then a representation (the idea of, but not the actual) Everything Everywhere. In music the brackets can be used to signify "play all these notes simultaneously, or looped over again".

4. All things everywhere have some amount of energy, and that energy was born/released all at once during the Big Bang. It sprang out into the previous emptiness (dark matter), and attached itself (Its Selves) to it.  We can refer to that desire for the proto-matter to connect with the anti-matter as Gravity. with different levels of attraction come different spins of quarks.  My symbol {∞} also refers to this pervasive uber-gravity-energy (which is also mass). If you like, the Noun and Verb of Gravitational Energy.

5.  When taken as a spiritual symbol, it's the literal representation of the Native American concept of the Great Spirit, a spirit that inhabits everything and is made up of everything. Ergo, it's a simple representation of G0d, Allah, Krishna-Vasudeva, Vishnu, FSM, et al. Since "God" is a somewhat crude tool to describe everything everywhere for all time in all languages, I thought it might be useful to have a more neutral (and scientific / mathematical) representation of [God].

It's the best way I knew to put a grand unified theory in Physics and Spirit under one symbol that could be typed on a standard keyboard.  When you get all those signals like I did, it just added up to "make this for a sign upon your hand".  (Thinking about it now, it's also a handy/permanent substitute for tefillin, which I somehow managed to lose at summer camp in Tumwater.)  So, in  late 2003 after around 2 years of cogitation, microprinting, and writing it with pen on my left hand between my thumb and index fingers, I went to Laughing Buddha on Broadway in Seattle and got my tattoo.  I have no others.

[Sociology Note: When I sold cars for VW and Audi, I would point out the dashboard features before the test drive, and around 15% of my customers would ask about it.  I would often joke that I was in a Mexican death-cult gang.  As it turns out, there is a gang referred to as "los ochos" in Central America, and my infinity loop turned sideways is an "8", of course.  There was also a TV series with Jennifer Garner called Alias where one of the illumianti a similarly placed and sized hand tattoo: "< o >".  No conspiracy here, just an odd coincidence.]

I'm a residential energy professional, teacher, and student, so it also ties my progressive values to my work and passion: I believe in equality on a fundamental (super-symmetry) level.  I believe there are forces we cannot see nor accurately describe except to use models and metaphors. I believe we need to respect every bit of the universe from the largest to the smallest things. Specifically,  I believe we are given energy from the Universe generally as matter and gravity, and from the sun specifically as radiation, and we need to respect and appreciate that gift.  In that light, here are the Three Commandments:
1.  Don't waste energy (practice energy and resource conservation),
2.  Use energy wisely (practice renewable energy generation),
3.  Be optimistic and lively in celebration of energy and life (be "energetic" and loving).

{∞} as Love: Going back to the way that quantum particles and cosmic forces work, they both are driven by the energy of gravity (which is so subtle on one end of the spectrum, and yet so seemingly  obvious on the other).  Gravity is the missing piece in most theories that try to unify all physical forces and theories (Standard Model and Quantum Model).  It's the Force that brings all things toward each other.  If you wish, (and I do), it's a cosmic and subatomic analog for Love.  That's the force that drives all matter and anti-matter, and it's the force that brings people together (or apart).  Gravity, in a very scientific sense for me, is Love.  Love as a particle (matter, noun), and Love as a wave (energy, verb).

In sum, my tat represents my grand unified theory that combines quantum and cosmic forces, math and science, science and spirit, art, communication, music, and All Energy (since all things = all mass and all mass = all energy via E=mc2) and that it's all powered by Love. 

Love, very scientifically, is all you need.


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