The language of physics is mathematics and it’s very precise. Real physics can’t be done honestly without mathematics, making it inaccessible for most if not all. In comparison the language of literature, English or Spanish or whatever, is an imprecise form of communicating ideas, yet it’s accessible to all. There is something odd about this. Something that’s precise, few can understand, while something that’s highly imprecise is understood by most everyone?
Media marketing and easy access has a huge influence determining the interest levels between the two. After all, popular literature reflects and is about the human condition, while physics is about the non-human condition making it a hard sell. With assembly line efficiency today’s literature, even those based on “factual or historical material” can be fictionalized and then molded into a handful of basic story lines. Most stories in the world can be seen as permutations of these. Narrations and reviews constrict cultural interest to the degree that only a handful of fictional spices are needed to excite the appetite? Similar to taking drugs to create a physiological change. Choose from three basic categories, and all you need is easy accessibility and an affordable price.
In comparison, physics is viewed as a lonesome nerdy kind of enterprise that has very little to do with human feelings. Most people identify with being social creatures and like to sit around the fire telling stories while passing the pipe, popular literature is a perfect fit for this. Descriptions of feelings driven to literary highs becomes social ecstasy, exciting people day-to-day about each other. Does anyone realize that physicists in their own working environment turn out to be very social creatures also? What’s the difference?
Simple observations of these two social groups gives you this insight. Physicist can express a small but not a lot of philosophical prejudice discussing physics, math is just too precise of a language with extremely confining limits. On the other hand English or Spanish or whatever is not, and allows people to sit around yakking for hours. But in a literary social group, all they do is highlight their prejudice and justify their believes and opinions with rehearsed sound bites while feeling good about it. Similar to taking drugs but perfectly legal, it has become one of the most popular way to immunize oneself from relevance and real progress while feeling accomplishment. In a group, riding that social high, it’s hard to resist not passing the pipe.