the septenary (diapholom) wrote,
the septenary

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   In 1925, the publisher of most of Boris Sidis’ books, brought out William’s “The Animate and the Inanimate”. It failed to receive a single review. Fifty-four years later, it was brought to the attention of one of William’s former Harvard classmates: Buckminster Fuller. Fuller wrote, “Imagine my excitement and joy on being handed this Xerox of Sidis’s 1925 book, in which he clearly predicts the black hole. In fact, I find his whole book to be a fine cosmological piece . .  Norbert Wiener used to talk to me about him . . . and Norbert was grieved that Sidis did not go on to fulfill his seemingly great promise of brilliance . . . I hope you will become as excited as I am at this discovery that Sidis did go on after college to do the most magnificent thinking and writing. I find him focusing on many of the same subjects that fascinate me, and coming to about the same conclusions as those I have published in Synergetics, and will be publishing in Synergetics, Volume II.”
    "William suggested that the Second Law of Thermodynamics is not a law at all, but a probability. The fact that the Second Law of Thermodynamics seems always to hold true is more or less coincidence in our corner of the universe. Also, entropy is reversed in other corners of the universe--elsewhere, chaos is proceeding to order. And if the Second Law of Thermodynamics appears to dominate local events, then probability suggests that there must be reversals of it all around us that we haven't yet recognized.
    " ...Sidis theorized that inanimate (dead) objects follow the Second Law of Thermodynamics, while animate (living) things reverse the law, and draw on a "reserve fund" of energy to mold the universe to their will. Life provided the reversal of entropy that Sidis's theory required. William's theory remains highly speculative; there is no reason to believe that a reverse universe exists. Also, biological processes are
no longer the mystery they were at the time of his writing. But while working on this problem, Sidis came up with other conclusions that are interesting to this day.
    "Cosmogeny is the study of the origins of the universe; the most popularly known -theory today is called the "Big Bang" theory. In The Animate and the Inanimate, William proposed a "Great Collision" theory, wherein two large, inert bodies, containing all the matter in the universe between them, collided; this collision provided the energy that started the universe in motion. 
    "As our sun hurtles through space to an eventual frozen death, it gives off energy. Somewhere in the universe there are suns that take in energy, and death becomes life. This other kind of sun Sidis dubbed a "black body," since it would be taking in all light energy, and therefore be totally invisible. This exactly describes a black hole. Should the Second Law of Thermodynamics eventually reverse itself in this "blackbody," it would then start giving off energy and become a sun. In this way, the universe would be in a perpetual state of ebb and flow, all energy being conserved. 
    "Scientists all over the world are still working on a problem known as "Fermi's paradox," proposed by Enrico Fermi. If the universe is infinite, Fermi postulated, then everything possible must occur somewhere sometime; therefore, there must exist a planet where the inhabitants speak English. Why haven't we met them? Why haven't we met anyone out there? Young Sidis also said, "The theory of the reversibility of the universe supposes that life exists under all sorts of circumstances, even on such hot bodies as the sun." Like Fermi's paradox, Sidis's reversibility theory also requires that life must exist in every corner of the universe, in order to provide the necessary reversals of the law of entropy. 
    "The theory is challenging, fascinating, and controversial on its own merits today. It was far more so in 1925; and it must be remembered that it sprang from the mind of a boy in his early twenties, who devoted only a portion of his scholarship to this book, because he was dedicated to such a vast variety of other intellectual pursuits at the same time. Had he dedicated his life entirely to cosmogeny, who knows what extraordinary body of work he might have produced?

    William never commented concerning the total lack of interest in “the Animate and the Inanimate”, but he never wrote about mathematics, physics or cosmology again, and he never again published a book under his own name.


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