Monday, May 31, 2010

From The Nobel Lecture Of Richard Feynman

If every individual student follows the same current fashion in expressing and thinking about electrodynamics or field theory, then the variety of hypotheses being generated to understand strong interactions, say, is limited. Perhaps rightly so, for possibly the chance is high that the truth lies in the fashionable direction. But, on the off-chance that it is in another direction - a direction obvious from an unfashionable view of field theory - who will find it? Only someone who has sacrificed himself by teaching himself quantum electrodynamics from a peculiar and unusual point of view; one that he may have to invent for himself. I say sacrificed himself because he most likely will get nothing from it, because the truth may lie in another direction, perhaps even the fashionable one.

But, if my own experience is any guide, the sacrifice is really not great because if the peculiar viewpoint taken is truly experimentally equivalent to the usual in the realm of the known there is always a range of applications and problems in this realm for which the special viewpoint gives one a special power and clarity of thought, which is valuable in itself. Furthermore, in the search for new laws, you always have the psychological excitement of feeling that possible nobody has yet thought of the crazy possibility you are looking at right now.
Richard Feynman, Nobel Lecture 1965

I discovered this after I published my view of the evolution of Human Behavior on Feyman is talking about the quantum electrodynamics for which he received the Nobel prize, but he could just as well have described my mathematical theory of human behavior. There was a slight difference in that I was working alone, but if you read the rest of his Nobel Lecture you'll see that Feynman was pretty much doing the same even if others were nominally looking for the same answers.

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