Download e-book for kindle: String theory by Joseph Gerard Polchinski

By Joseph Gerard Polchinski

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Things were much simpler back at the dawn of time, for while today it can take almost a week to get a pair of pants dry-cleaned, it took God only seven days to create the entire world—and that’s factoring in the rest day. It probably won’t surprise you to learn that the concept of marketing is almost as old as humanity itself, and while I’ll get into more detail on that later in this book, suffice to say here that it took almost no time for a wily serpent to sell Adam and Eve on a shiny apple from the Tree of Knowledge, at which point they became not only the first humans but also the first marketing demographic, and God expelled them from the Garden of Eden for being total consumerist dupes.

Some of these people happened to be very enthusiastic followers of the prophet Mohammed, and they commuted all over Asia and Europe and sort of “gentrified” different neighborhoods—though whereas now gentrification means renting a cheap apartment and opening a used record store, back then it meant arriving with an army and killing everybody who refused to follow your religion. One of the places they gentrified was Jerusalem, which was an extremely trendy city at the time and sort of the Williamsburg, Brooklyn, of its day— except instead of attracting indie bands it attracted religious cults.

Millennia ago that messengers are cool. They carried messages across battlefields; they were privy to the king’s secrets, yet not bound by the physical confines of his court; and eventually people sublimated their admiration for them into the messenger god Hermes. Meanwhile, there’s no food delivery god, nor did the ancient Greeks worship a deity who pushed a snack cart up and down Mount Olympus. They only worshipped the people who actually did the eating, like Dionysus, the Greek god of feasting, drinking, and generally partying self-indulgently.

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