March 7, 2014

Time To Think, Time To Be

Professor Higgs, discoverer the Higgs Boson (also called the 'god particle'), required time to think to
come up with his groundbreaking ideas, and liked nature and camping for that reason.
Portrait of Peter Higgs by: Ken Currie.

Humans are not machines. We are not designed to be cogs in perpetual motion. We need down time.

We need time to think.

Our brains need regular idle, nonproductive moments just like they need sleep. And just as sleep aids our brain, so does giving it uninterrupted room to roam. Thinking is one of the joys of being human, and is a pre-requisite to amazing discoveries, personal and otherwise.

The Higgs boson for example, was a "monumental discovery" when unveiled in 2012 in the planet's most expensive laboratory of all time, CERN's Large Hadron Collider. The discovery is named after Peter Higgs who, back in 1964, proposed the existence of such a particle.

He won the Nobel Prize in physics in 2013 for his work, also referred to as the "God Particle" by the media.

Higgs said that the busyness and distractions of modern academic life would be too busy for him and he might not have had the down time to come up with what turned out to be "the most sought-after particle in modern physics".

The successful slacker professor claimed,

“Today I wouldn't get an academic job. It’s as simple as that. I don't think I would be regarded as productive enough.

It’s difficult to imagine how I would ever have enough peace and quiet in the present sort of climate to do what I did in 1964.”

We are not machines. We don't need to be cogs spinning more productively - that is what has got us into the mess the world is in today. We need to encourage people to stop spinning, to be less productive.

We need time to think. Of god particles, and the workings of life and the universe. Of change and possibilities.

We need time to be. Then we can work it out.


  1. Lovely post, we all need more time to meander don't we?

  2. Anonymous3/07/2014

    I always argued the notion that humans are nothing more than squishy automata...that they are "autonomous creatures" and in tandem, automatons. They operate by will and action, and not made for drudgery such as a robot is. What's the difference, you may ask? Robot means drudgery. Automaton means action. Everything organic that lives and is animate, operates by the mechanics of nature. The cogs you say don't exist in the human brain are not that of clockwork, but of nerves and electricity. Even the act of thinking operates on a mechanical to-do that nature designed for the benefit of the creature in question. I have some strange-sounding philosophies on what I surmise nature is, but it delights me that I think of it as one giant self-propelled machine, and that there's no barrier between the Organic that live within it, and the Inorganic constructs that are also a part of it. Now what one *does* with these mechanisms is the next question.

    Relaxation must take place otherwise you'll malfunction ;)

    1. Anon,

      The sum is greater than the parts. The Greeks considered Gaia to be the primordial Mother of not only Earth, but the entire Universe. It is all one organism, no barriers.

      Are these not the big questions? What do we do with the mechanisms at our disposal? What part can we play in this "giant self-propelled machine"? How do we balance doing with being?

      Delight is good. I am delighted at life often.


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