Very brave of you to raise this, but I am wary. I caught the last part of the same lecture, and Turock's suggestion that the "quantum" future "may even change who we are" (I think that's the quote)as human beings gives me a sick anxiety in my gut. I may be misunderstanding, but I think fiddling with the essential nature of humanity (or of our fellow creatures) is both dangerous and fundamentally wrong. It smacks of those among space enthusiasts who want us to pursue the frontiers of outer space instead of taking on the responsibility of caring for the Earth, our home. Our record of tampering with nature is not a shining one. Such science has deep roots in patriarchal arrogance, and it has already brought us to the brink. As feminist Dorothy Dinnerstein has written, such prospects "smell vile" to me.I confess that I hadn't thought about any of what Helen says. I was taking his words in another direction - not in turning us into a different, more techno centred kind of humanity - but in actually making us more aware of reality as it really is. The world works in certain ways that we find almost impossible to understand.
I certainly share the distrust of those who see possible solutions in space and technology that are only about avoiding the real humanly/politically created problems of here and now (ie so many responses to global warming). But I was taking Turock in a different direction. That is, the discoveries of physicists seem to ask us to confront our limits as humans, the ways in which we are incredibly limited, irrational, and unable to really understand the world. So I read his perhaps overly rosy language about the quantum future in this light.
But still. Quantum history anyone? Is anyone actually applying this stuff to the humanities? If time isn't linear; if can be seen as a spatial 4th dimension, how does this affect the writing of history?
I asked these questions to three great historians and smart people the other day over drinks. I received kind, bemused expressions. Maybe I really am out in left field on this one....