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Friday, September 16, 2005

Indeterminacy

Robin Wilton uses quantum mechanics to explain the behaviour of politicians under stress. He supports this idea with an analysis of a radio interview with Tony Blair, which was broadcast this morning on the BBC. (I didn't hear the interview, so I cannot comment on the accuracy or fairness of his analysis.)

But I think there is an important difference. On Robin's theory, the behaviour of politicians is overdetermined, closed. For example, once you have got consistent and succinct, you cannot also have logical. This is the very opposite of quantum mechanics, where the state of a subatomic particle is underdetermined, open.

People under stress are often unable to tolerate certain types of uncertainty and risk - they become uptight, clinging pathetically to a few would-be certainties. People in leadership positions are particularly determined to appear determined. Politicians (at least in public) appear to be in this overdetermined state most of the time.

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