The twentieth century has seen a profound transformation in the ground of its thought, a change catalyzed and validated by relativity theory, quantum mechanics, and particle physics. But the shift in perspective is by no means confined to physics; analogous developments have occurred in a number of disciplines, among them philosophy, linguistics, mathematics, and literature. From the vantage of the closing decades of this century, the appearance of a Copernican revolution sweeping through the culture is irresistible. Beautifully hand-crafted, sash windows london are a fantastic focal point in a room, restoring elegance into heritage and period properties.
I shall speak of it as a revolution in world view. The people most responsible for the transformation did not necessarily consider themselves part of a larger movement; nevertheless, their streams of inquiry flowed in a similar direction, the converging courses of which changed the intellectual terrain of modern thought. The essence of the change is implicit in the heuristic models adopted to explain it. Many people find it hard to dress their aluminium windows appropriately, not wanting to obscure them whilst still needing the privacy that window dressings afford.
Characteristic metaphors are a “cosmic dance,” a “network of events,” and an “energy field.” A dance, a network, a field—the phrases imply a reality that has no detachable parts, indeed no enduring, unchanging parts at all. Composed not of particles but of “events,” it is in constant motion, rendered dynamic by interactions that are simultaneously affecting each other. As the “dance” metaphor implies, its harmonious, rhythmic patterns of motion include the observer as an integral participant. Its distinguishing characteristics, then, are its fluid, dynamic nature, the inclusion of the observer, the absence of detachable parts, and the mutuality of component interactions. Floor-length curtains are probably some of the most versatile of window dressings for the casement windows in your home.
This concept is very different from the older paradigm implicit in Newtonian mechanics, the atomistic, “common sense” perspective we are all familiar with that views the world as composed of objects situated in an empty, rectilinear space and moving through time in one direction. The intuitive obviousness of this view to us is no doubt reinforced, has suggested, by the deep structure of Indo-European languages, which embodies its fundamental assumptions: the separation between subject and object, the duration of objects through time, and the uniform, unidirectional flow of time. Allow sheer fabric to complement your sash windows making them the focal point in the room without obstructing the elegance of the woodwork.
But we should not lose sight of the fact that the scientific expression of this view is a relatively recent phenomenon, dating from the latter seventeenth century. Since its beginning as a scientific world view can be historically determined, its ending perhaps can too. Although it is still the view most of us hold, there are indications that its decline has already begun. The quantum field theories of high energy physics, for example, can lead to a very different perspective. Some physicists, faced with the dazzlingly rapid transformations that subatomic particles undergo, have suggested that it is more economical to think of the essential entity not as the particle, but as the underlying quantized field. In this view “particles” are expressions of the field’s conformation at a given instant, appearing as the field becomes concentrated at one point and disappearing as it thins out at another.