“I consider consciousness fundamental.
Consider matter as derived from consciousness.
Everything we talk about, everything we consider, postulates consciousness”.
What almost nobody knows is that, before demolishing Newtonian physics (science evolves with one funeral after another), with its assumption that energy would propagate in tiny wholes instead of a continuous flow, as claimed by Newton, Planck did everything he could to prove himself wrong! He failed. He named the 'energy packets' quanta, revealing the wild, surprising and passionate beauty of quantum mechanics.
Few also know about Planck's wisdom. In 1933, when Nazism began to darken the German skies, Werner Heisenberg went to talk to Planck. He had been invited to teach at Berkeley. Although he was in no danger, as he was not one of the infinite minorities persecuted by the brownshirts, Heisenberg was tempted. Very tempted.
"During storms, the worst storms, what guide ships in the seas are lighthouses. When the storm passes, the sailors gratefully look at that light that saved their lives. You are a lighthouse."
Not only did Heisenberg stay in Germany, but he also accepted the responsibility for developing the atomic bomb for Hitler. Heisenberg, had an IQ of 190.
To end this flattering start, as an unconditional fan, I talk about Erwin Planck, Max's son.
The movie Operation Walküre, in which Tom Cruise plays Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg and his failed attempt to end Hitler's life, reports an event that occurred at the end of the 2nd World War. Erwin was one of the participants in the plot and was executed on January 23, 1945. Twenty-one months later, his father died, aged 89.
Let's get to the wall. Planck was all that, but everything has a limit. Like all geniuses, Planck was wearisome, impatient, and extremely cynical as far as the Consensus was concerned. So when Lemaître's Big Bang gained momentum in the 1930s, proposing that the universe had its origin in something the size of a marble and that –to the delight of economists and their statistics- it was not appropriate to ask what would have existed before the marble, because time and space supposedly emerged with its explosion, Max couldn’t help himself.
Based on Lemaître's theory and a joke only for people with an IQ over 180, Max proposed what would come to be known as the Planck time. Instantly after the Big Bang, time itself appears as 10-44s, at a temperature of 1032°C and a primordial mass of 10-5g. The calculations are perfect, and nobody got the joke. Everyone knows that a joke cannot be explained; who didn't get it lost out. And Max tried to explain it with the wall, which by the way, is also quite funny; the finesse of his irony.
Planck said that the Big Bang is a wall from which everything makes sense. He added that this wall would not be a fundamental limit to knowledge, in the same way, that his “time” does not establish an intrinsic limit; but only the cause of our ignorance.
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