Roger Penrose on Fashion, Faith and Fantasy

This interview with Roger Penrose is worth listening to. It’s a reminder that any current view – in science and elsewhere – is provisional, will be replaced by something that seems more useful, and ultimately wrong.

Any view, including our most basic and cherished views on the world and ourselves, is – in a sense – fashion, faith, and fantasy.

It’s fashion, since they are often adopted from our culture, parents, friends, and teachers. The more basic ones tends to be universal, and the frills more culture dependent.

It’s faith, to the extent they are taken to be real and true, or accurately represent what’s real.

And it’s fantasy, in that they are quite literally made up and imagined in our minds.

None of this is wrong. It’s inevitable, it’s innocent, it’s quite beautiful, and it’s often very helpful. We need our world of words and images to function in the world.

And it’s also helpful to examine our assumptions, including our most basic ones, and through that hold them more lightly.

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