Thursday, April 15, 2021

Journal of Medieval Scholasticism: How Many Angels Can Dance On the Head of a Pin?

Indeed, “how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?” Why not go back to the source, the question which defines the very essence of medieval scholasticism, i.e the pursuit of issues that have absolutely no relevance for mankind? Buridan’s Donkey is also often mentioned in this connection since it concerns another ridiculous problem that of the animal which dies since it can’t decide between hay and water, hunger and thirst. Suppose that an angel is the size of a muon, the fat electron which has been in the news lately since its peculiar behavior may open up a whole new paradigm in physics. The head of a pin is approximately 100,000th of an inch. It has been estimated that 6 trillion photons would fit on the head of a pin but photons which have no mass take up less space then muons which are 200 times heavier than electrons. Those have a mass of 
9.1093837015(28)×10−31 kg. No one knows whether angels exist, but if they do, their size is up for grabs. If John Duns Scotus, the scholastic famous for his thinking on “the univocity of being,” were alive, he would have to deal with the difficulty of trying to calculate the mass of a spiritual presence that may not exist. Of course, once that problem is solved then it would be smooth sailing. If say it’s determined that an angel’s size rounds off to l0-62kg, then your answer could be figured out on a simple slide ruler or even abacus. What kind of dance the angels are doing is another matter. It's common knowledge that angels favor ballroom dancing whether it’s the tango, the indy or fox trot when they’re not coming down from the heavens to shine their light on troubled but worthy souls like George Bailey of It's a Wonderful Life. Some angels have even been known to take lessons at Arthur Murray's Dance Studios.

Read review of Erotomania: A Romance by Francis Levy, Bookslut


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