Football Physics

Modern science over-emphasizes the role physics in understanding reality. It’s as if you tried to understand all of society through football. Society has many different aspects to it. Families, friendships, culture in various forms, educational, religious and political institutions, big and small businesses, past time activities and so on. One those past time activities is football. Trying to explain all of reality as physical mechanistic processes is like trying to understand the complexity of society through football only. Trying to describe what society is, how would should behave in society. It’s much easier to focus on football than society to describe those things, as in football there are certain fairly absolute rules. The aim is to win. Winning is accomplished by kicking the ball in the opposite goal (or running with the egg to the other side of the field for yanks). There are also things you must not do or you are penalized. The same is not true for society. There is no clear way to win. One could argue there are right ways to live in a society and there are wrong ways, and you can certainly get penalized for doing the wrong thing. However it can, and should be, argued that who is that gets to decide what is right and what is wrong. There’s not much leeway when arguing the rules of football, because if you change it too much it won’t be football anymore.

Where physics fits into all of this is that it is only one part of the greater whole. Existence is much more than being simply a collection of atoms. There are emotions, thoughts, desires and experiences involved as well. Dilemmas about right and wrong, success and failure. Existing isn’t merely a mechanism. Physics is one part of the whole. The reason why scientists choose to focus on physics is that it is the only part where they can have certainty, or at least a semblance of certainty. It is easier to understand what makes a good football player than it is to understand what makes a good member of society. He has to be fit, be able to do teamwork and many other things I wouldn’t know since I don’t know much about football. It’s easier to focus on one part of the whole than the whole itself, simply because the part is smaller than the whole. When looking at the whole, you get a more holistic picture, but it is also difficult to say anything for certain.

Football is somewhat mechanistic. There is definite purpose behind every action a (good) player makes. For that reason managers can analyze the situation and the potential of the players to make the most of it. Meticulous analysis can lead to significant results. Same goes for physics. Yet the same approach does not work for everything, such as culture. If you compare Japanese and Korean culture to each other you find many differences. However if you compare them any European culture, let’s say English culture, Korean and Japanese cultures seem more similar to each other. You can try to analyze the reasons, such as historically England is a Christian country with a Greco-Roman philosophical heritage contrasted with Confucianism and Buddhism in Japan and Korea. Yet each country’s unique culture is more than merely the dominant religious and philosophical ideologies suggest. There is always something unsaid, unseen yet it can be sensed when looking at the culture. How the people behave, the atmosphere in a country, in each individual town is different. Still if you focus too much and talk to an individual he or she may not represent his or her cultures prevailing norms, yet they are a part of that culture. It is difficult to pinpoint where one culture ends and another begins, however it is an observable fact that Korean, Japanese and English cultures are all distinct.

The same goes for life. There are predictable and mechanistic things such as physics. Then there are more fuzzy areas in life. Equally, possibly, even more real yet you can never put your finger on it.


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