First, a little background on me. I am a retired IBM Systems Engineer with degrees in Mathematics. I am an amateur when it comes to the subjects of my essays but I have a keen interest in them. I have had a lifelong compulsion to make sense of everything, and things that don't make sense or seem to be contradictory attract my attention and interest. All these essays are attempts at sensible explanations for common puzzling questions.
In the course of my life, I have found precious few people with whom I could discuss some of these topics without causing problems. A couple different times, a colleague I will call B started small discussion groups. These were enjoyable and we kicked around many interesting ideas. Unfortunately for some reason we weren't able to pursue any of the ideas very far. B and I have maintained this mutual interest over the years, and now, B, I sincerely hope you will join in the discussions in these pages and see if we can't get further along.
Later on, I started and ran my own idea discussion group through the mail by writing what I called PIE (Paul's Idea Exchange) Letters. I sent these, unsolicited, to a group of 20 or so people who I hoped would be interested, if not in contributing then at least in reading. In this format, we didn't meet face to face but had to rely on the written word. A reasonable number of people participated by sending rebuttals to my ideas as well as ideas of their own. The project spanned two years and produced ten letters.
PIE Letters ultimately failed for two reasons: First because I didn't clearly spell out the objectives and methods for the communication, and secondly because each participant had a slightly different idea about what I (we) were trying to accomplish, and as a result, we were pulling in different directions and misunderstanding each other.
More recently, I had a more encouraging experience. I received a copy of C.S.Lewis' book "Mere Christianity" in the mail from a former colleague I will call R. R expressed an interest in my opinions of the book. The result was a series of more than twenty letters exchanged between us that went on for seven years. In my opinion, this exchange was more successful than the PIE Letters because there were only two of us and so there were only two different objectives rather than 6 or 8. R's objective was to share the "good news" of the Christian Gospel with me. My objective was to get R interested enough in my ideas about God to put the effort into trying to understand me. My secondary objective was to get R to articulate his own beliefs about God so that I might understand him.
I feel that I did succeed in my primary objective. R put a lot of thoughtful consideration into our dialog. I probably exasperated R, and maybe he put more energy into it than he wanted to, but at least we both stuck with it long enough for me to get sufficient motivation to do the work of articulating my ideas so that someone else might be able to understand what I think. This was not easy, and I greatly thank R because I don't think I could have, or would have, done it without him. Since I believe I tired R out, I am ready to move on to other unsuspecting victims. (Just kidding). The first version of this web site was the follow-on to the R letters for me. Since then, I have discovered several Internet forums, Dr. Dick, and Chris Langan. All of the essays posted here with essay numbers less than 100 pre-date those discoveries. (Essay numbers can be seen in my file-naming convention.)
The primary interest I intend to pursue in this site is the question of what is going on in our universe. I think that there are a lot of people who know a lot about the answer to this question, but I think that collectively, we are a long way from a complete answer. In addition, there are a lot of smart people who disagree on what some of the answers are.
As a starting point, you might want to check out my Road Map to Happiness for a brief explanation of why I think putting effort into this kind of discussion is important.
Since no one knows the whole truth about all aspects of our universe, and since some people know quite a bit about it, and further, since a lot of people think they do, but they are wrong, I think that the way to sift it all out and increase our collective knowledge and move closer to the truth is to follow Socrates' advice and method and talk about it.
Therefore, the objective of this web site is to conduct an on-going Socratic dialog with the intention of moving toward an understanding of the truth about our universe.
Please, I beg you, participate by writing something.
©1999, 2003 Paul R. Martin, All rights reserved.