Adam Wiśniewski - Snerg

By Kuba Kaliński (transl. Nena Argent, Kuba Kalinski)
Wisniewski-Snerg robot
Adam Wiśniewski - Snerg
Biographical note
Adam Wisniewski was born in 1937 in Plock and committed suicide in 1995 in Warsaw. As a little boy, he lost both parents in the war, and later, he and his elder brother Stanislaw, were raised by his aunt, Hedwig Jędrzejewska-Ruff. Soon after the war, his brother was sentenced to life imprisonment for conspiring against communism. Adam was self-taught. He graduated from secondary school as an out-student. Snerg is a nickname coined by the author – a term used in physics to represent the total sum of energy. His most famous book, “The Robot”, was published in 1973 and soon after was recognized as the best science fiction novel in postwar Poland. He also published several other novels (According to Villain, Naked Purpose, The Ark) as well as “The Uniform Theory of Space-time” – his own original description of the universe and all physical phenomena. One of Snerg’s acquaintances described him as a person who hasn’t learned to be a friend. He was a loner. He took his own life by hanging himself in his house. He wrote: “With enough data, intelligence and perseverance one can help anyone. But not oneself. The force with which you influence yourself, by persuasion, suggestion, or any other method, is equal in value to the strength of your resistance to them. After all, it’s the same force, your own, facing the opposite direction.”

Subjective Viewpoint: According to Villain

  1. Extreme Risk
  2. Snerg’s ideas, while yet unverified (and some impossible to ever verify), combine passion, madness and genius. His suicide was a tragic final punctuation mark to an extremely risky life.
  3. Speculations
  4. I don’t know the reasons as to why he committed suicide; I rely solely on my own speculation and the speculation of others. Various assumptions have emerged: feelings of rejection and lack of recognition arise quite often. I’m against these conjectures because that means it’s possible to assign a causative role to conscious, mental or emotional states; bitterness in this case. In my opinion, any conscious process is only a shadow of the deeper, mechanical processes of the brain. (To say: “she died of love”, is erroneous. Thoughts and sentiments are never causes. They are effects.) Sometimes suicide is the final act of a dysfunctional brain. It isn’t a disease in a strict sense, it’s a handicap. Why did nature provide an opportunity for self-destruction? As an emergency exit for animals with highly developed nervous systems – animals that experience pain. Depriving oneself of one’s own life can make sense in a situation where there’s no other way of reducing physical suffering. If suicide were impossibility, it would be hell on earth. Some religions (including the modern “religion of legal rights”) have turned this upside-down, insinuating that it’s actually the other way around.
  5. Time Slowed Down
  6. For many years “The Robot” was considered the best Polish science fiction novel. The past overtakes our present world nearly at the speed of light. That imaginary world is described in minute detail. All laws of relativistic physics are kept. As a result, everything in the past world takes, from our perspective, much more time. The movement of a hand lifting a glass to the lips takes hours; someone falling from a skyscraper won’t reach street level until the next day. In turn, our intervention in that world, from the perspective of observers immersed in it, are barely perceptible, a twinkle or a slight gust of air. The imagination that created that alternative world is a thousand times richer than the imagination of those who invented paradise. Their ideas are childish, and in a comical way, laden with poorly disguised sexual dissatisfaction. The ability to create nonexistent worlds is a property of mind which seems to evolve quickly.
  7. My Blood is Artificial
  8. The novel “According to Villain” develops a different idea: the hero wakes up and slowly discovers that all the things around him are fake. Cheese imitates cheese, toothpaste imitates toothpaste. People are stuffed toys or puppets, which are sometimes damaged. In the third chapter, when the hero gets shot, he discovers that he’s also a puppet. His blood is artificial. Can others see that it’s artificial? It’s worth mentioning that this apocryphal story was written 50 years before the Gospel of Judas was discovered.
  9. The Uniform Theory of Space-time
  10. Wisniewski-Snerg’s science fiction novels were said to have been successful, while his physics masterpiece, “The Uniform Theory of Space-time”, was considered a failure. I disagree. UTS is a short treatise under a hundred pages in length. I’m able to understand 70% of it, the remaining 30% is incomprehensible because I lack a deeper knowledge of physics. The treatise doesn’t contain a single mathematical formula. Replacing the word “time” with a t symbol doesn’t change the substance of the deliberations. As far as I know, Snerg’s theory hasn’t been verified yet. Perhaps it’s wrong, but maybe it awaits someone who will approach it without preconceptions and will use mathematics to formulate a hypotheses that confirms or refutes it. Even assuming that the outcome is negative, the theory is valuable because it contains extremely original ideas, concepts, and models. Science without imagination doesn’t exist. The very model of the world developed by Snerg is a remarkable discovery in and of itself.

    I think that allegations claiming that his work lacks scientific backing is rash. Although many physicists charged him with not backing up his theory with mathematical formulas, Snerg expected such attacks and ridiculed them. It’s sufficient to say that the short treatise by Copernicus, Commentariolus, containing the basic hypothesis of the heliocentric system, written 30 years before the publication of “On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres”, likewise didn’t contain a single formula. (By the way, for readers outside Poland, let me add that Copernicus wasn’t an Italian from Bologna, but a Polish man from Polonia, where he was born, lived and thought. To some extent, he also considered himself German. At the time, these were not mutually exclusive categories.)

  11. Eiaculatio Praecox
  12. One of the most controversial paradigms of physics is the idea of tiny beads: atoms, elementary particles, etc., scattered here and there throughout the universe. How many are there? Why are indivisible? Are they indivisible? Where did they come from? These questions remain open. (At this point, theists suffering from mental eiaculatio praecox, scream: “God!”) Small balls in a vacuum – this is the modern-day state of imagination for people who’ve completed primary school. Physicists know that this is only a model, not the ultimate reality, and therefore present a variety of refined models – strings, quantum particles, etc. Snerg goes the other way: space and matter are essentially the same. Intersecting spaces create microscopic deformations seen by us at the macro level as matter. Does this sound mysterious? It doesn’t. Read the original.
  13. Praying to Lego
  14. One day, the above idea may be confirmed or refuted, but Wisniewski also created brilliant ideas that will never become scientific. For example: sand doesn’t know anything about the grass growing on it. The grass doesn’t know about the digestive processes of a cow. Cows don’t have access to the mind of man. Man ... It’s simply impossible to verify a hypothesis that here on earth, around us or within us, there are other higher forms of organized life, or something that surpasses it. This idea is similar to the idea of a mental toy called god. However, using and playing with imagination is different than praying to Lego.
  15. To be like Jack London
  16. He hung himself. Reportedly, he complained earlier of having no gun, “like Jack London”.
  17. The Exterminating Angel
  18. Allegations on Wikipedia, insinuating that Wachowski brothers committed plagiarism when they creating “Matrix” due to copying Snerg’s story “The Exterminating Angel”, are unfounded. It’s true, they could have been familiar with “The Robot”, since Wachowski’s father is probably of Polish descent, but “Matrix” is an autonomous work, and like any masterpiece, was inspired by hundreds of other works. The greater the number of inspirations (like neural connections), the more conducive it is to quality work. Similarities are inevitable.
  19. Insubordinate Student
  20. He didn’t finish high school because he had an argument with a teacher of Polish language. It didn’t prevent him from tutoring physics… to physics students.
  21. Special Cinema of Relativity
  22. Hypothesis: Einstein’s inspiration for creating the Special Theory of Relativity (1905), in which trains and clocks play a lead role, was inspired by a film created by the Lumière brothers: “The Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat Station”, which had been playing in cinemas since 1896. Accelerated images of the train could have stuck in young Einstein’s head: time flows differently, depending on whether you’re a spectator or an engine driver on celluloid. In such a place, where science, art, technology and imagination intersect, is where Snerg lived. Susskind’s story about the universe is similar. We live in a three-dimensional spectacle called time and life, which is a hologram, formed by the projection of events taking place on the two-dimensional surface of the universe. There are those who go stone cold when faced with this type of contemplation. Me too. So I choose to live in the tropics, on an island in the Indian Ocean. It’s paradise, then there’s nothing. There’s still time to hang myself.
  23. Underwater Cemeteries of Ideas
  24. Stanislaw Lem, perhaps inconsolable by the fact that it was Snerg’s novel and not his own that was recognized as the best Polish postwar Sci-Fi novel, said: “I didn’t know that there were so many stupid people, until I opened the internet.” My admiration for Wisniewski-Snerg had to collide with a large dose of venom scattered online. In particular, spiteful remarks regarding his “Uniform Theory of Space-time". He’s grotesquely accused of pride and immodesty – it’s hard not to feel pride when you’ve created a theory describing all physical interactions as variants of one phenomena. I’m inclined to be delighted by his mind and courage, regardless of whether the theory will ultimately be vindicated or not. How many ships sank in the Atlantic before Columbus reached Hispaniola? Hundreds? We have Monuments to Unknown Soldiers, but where stand the monuments to unknown sailors, sages, artists? In underwater cemeteries of ideas.
  25. Logic versus Democracy
  26. I’d like to add one remark to the unsubstantial discussion around the Snergian concept described in his UTS. It seems to me that most commentators note with pitiful satisfaction that the theory was “very badly received among professional physicists.” Only once in my life have I talked about Snerg’s theory. My listener was a professor of physics and a lecturer at the University of Warsaw. He was by no means opposed to UTS. He believed that the theory contained serious and interesting ideas. The fact that physicists argue, and that there’s no agreement amongst them as to the ultimate laws of the universe, is no secret to anyone who has passed primary school. Truth is not a matter of consent or something on which to vote; truth is undemocratic. One million people saying that a = b has the same power of logic as one man stating the same thing, or something opposite.
  27. I’m Your Perception
  28. In order to describe (to someone unfamiliar with Snerg’s writings) the style in which “The Robot” is written, one could compare it to Lem and Asimov, or mention “The Matrix”. However, there’s one more important clue to his style: Snerg’s favorite novel was Kafka’s “The Castle”. “The Robot” and “According to Villain” follow the Central European tradition of Kafka, Gombrowicz, and Golems. These creations share no discernable action and lack a hero of Greek provenance. The protagonist struggles with his own identity. Who am I, when confronted by the strangeness of other people’s perception of me? The way others perceive you determines who you are more strongly than your own perception of yourself. Snerg’s novels are stuffy and dense. Movement is squeezed through a bottleneck.
  29. Cowardice and Courage
  30. The act of suicide is perceived differently depending on the culture: as cowardice in the noble Polish tradition or as a supreme act of courage in samurai tradition. Therefore, to pronounce a moral judgment seems inappropriate. None of us have access to the inner world of someone who’s suicidal. Under such circumstances, it seems appropriate to hypothesize that the man had his reasons. Snerg, with iron-like focus, devoted his life to rendering his unique visions: scientific and artistic. When it was over, the point of life disappeared too.
  31. Contradictions
  32. I’m aware of my contradictions. It isn’t my goal to create a coherent political or scientific system. I pose questions to myself, ponder them and doubt. Some of my assumptions must be wrong.
  33. To Be a Physicist
  34. Snerg was a physicist par excellence. There are many physicists who just “cultivate” physics. Snerg attempted the impossible. He hitched his wagon to the stars (it was a rope, not a wagon, in his case – read further). I agree with him: the essence of being a physicist is to unite all the puzzles and produce one coherent answer; to unify an infinite number of occurrences into a single phenomenon. It’s a kind of imperative. Snerg sought unity – in that sense, he was a physicist.
  35. The Holy Book of Pantheists: the World
  36. I don’t care whether you call it nature, first cause, dharma, or even god. You want to call me a pantheist? Go ahead; this kind of label makes no difference to me. Whatever the primordial cause, none have anything to do with any of your holy books.
  37. The Rope and the Knot
  38. In order to understand the starting point of Snerg’s reasoning, let’s pick up a rope. The rope is a model of our space. Now tie a knot. The node corresponds to matter; the area of the rope without knots is the vacuum. In the future, if we discover that space and matter are essentially the same thing (as are mass and energy, light and heat), it means that we’ve allowed a second Copernicus to hang himself out of desperation. Perhaps it’ll be the mirror in which Polish people must look at themselves during the next thousand years.
  39. Anxiety on Torus
  40. There are several arguments in favor of the Big Bang theory. One of them is the expansion of space. It’s easy, however, to specify a different geometrical model of expanding space, without any “bang” at the beginning, without the beginning at all. Snerg mentions only one of these models – the torus. Galaxies speeding on the surface of a torus, along circles aligned with the rotational axis of the torus, with separating movements during half the time and converging movements during the other half, always going in the same direction, yet never touching. The Big Bang is more than a hypothesis, but there’s still a long way to go for it to be fact.
  41. The Mind of Starfish
  42. Would it be an exaggeration to suppose that the Big Bang theory achieved success for two reasons: “bang” common with creationism (the author of the theory is, incidentally, a Catholic priest), and the relative ease (for the masses) to imagine this model? Imagining a torus, described above, is a bit more complicated. But who said that the universe is what a biped considers a simple object? Don’t forget that the world of a starfish has five directions.
Adam Wiśniewski - Snerg - Uniform Theory of Space-time
Uniform Theory of Space-time
Adam Wiśniewski - Snerg - 
Adam Wiśniewski - Snerg - 
According to Villain
According to Villain
Adam Wiśniewski - Snerg - 
The Naked Target
The Naked Target
Adam Wiśniewski - Snerg - 

Adam Wiśniewski - Snerg - quotes & fragments

We didn't find anything translated into English. Below is a quote from, BlancheDeLaForce' opinion about "Matrix". (Samba Walker)

I think this is a nice little action movie that I would like a lot better if it had not developed a following that goes on and on about the movie's supposed originality and profoundity (and who refer to the movie's critics, derogatorily, as "intellectuals," which is kind of funny). Well, it is entertaining, but it is not profound and it is certainly not original. Even someone like me, who has read some sci-fi but not a lot, can quote a few examples in which every single allegedly original or profound aspect of the movie has already been written by some sci-fi author. Let's see: we have a computer-generated world designed to keep a person entertained (so to speak) in Philip K' Dick's "I Hope We Will Arrive Soon;" we have a computer-generated world created to fool people into believing they are living in a fictituous world, while they are lying immobile in pods... millions of them, in "The Angel of Violence" by Adam Wisniewski-Snerg; we have a false world, this time drug-inspired, crated to mask the unbearable reality of a devastated world, AND the use of a pill to "lift the veil" and see the world as it is, in "The Futurological Congress," by Stanislaw Lem. And I'm not going to mention the overuse of technology that renders humans helpless... that one was already in H.G.Wells and E.M.Forster. Now, nobody would be able to make a movie out of any of these very fine works, without some idiot piping up "Oh, just like in Matrix!" In fact, you cannot do anything about virtual reality without the Matrix comparison, which was already been made about things as diverse as "eXistenZ" and "Open Your Eyes."

And, and then there are all the philosophical concepts the movie filches from diverse religions and philosophical sources; I suppose this works for some people, but I don't enjoy my philosophy or religion dumbed-down and sugarcoated in a `Kung Fu' setup. About the thing about Neo being an equivalent of Jesus Christ, I'll give the moviemakers some credit and take for granted that they didn't intend it, because it is so unflattering. Neo's character as `the chosen one' does not include a high degree of intelligence or awareness, but merely his ability to move very fast and dodge bullets.