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I Am Not Moved

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Posted by A. Souza on June 24, 2003 13:33:17 UTC

Leesa,

I'm not into sports. As far as I experience it, baseball or football mean just a lot of silly ugly men running after a little ball, often resorting to physical violence to get it, with no purpose whatsoever other than to prove that they are better than others at chasing the little ball. From my perspective, few human activities can be more pathetic. But I know I'm unwittingly being a snob, just like Harv dismissing certain great books on the sole basis that he can't enjoy them. So I try to keep that in mind, and accept the fact that if sports look silly to me but appeal to a lot of people, then I must be missing something big about it. I can accept the fact that sports are tremendously exciting even if I can't understand how.

I wrote all that because the situation with science is similar in one sense, but different in another. As with sports, I feel completely alienated when it comes to the science-lover's enthusiasm about science. I just have no idea where the enthusiasm comes from, but unlike sports, which I don't understand, my problem with science is that I do understand it, and I see nothing to get excited about. What I see mostly is reason for concern, because science is promoted as something which it simply cannot be. People come to expect too many wonders out of it, and when those wonders fail to materialize they just make stories up and start believing them as if they were true. Let me just give you an example:

" We can't do anything with the knowledge of black holes, or the edge of the universe, or where the universe began - or where it will end "

The problem is not that we can't do anything with that knowledge, the problem is that our theories about black holes, the edge of the universe, its beginning, are simply not true in any sense of the word 'true'. They are fantasies created by learned men, but fantasies none the less.

I'm all for probing the entire unknown of the universe, but the fact is that science is not about the unknown, science is about what can be known for certain. In my dictionary anyway.

I am a very practical person. I will not live two hundred years, so the fact that man may one day travel to distant planets means absolutely nothing to me. What is meaningful to me are the things that are within my reach, and there are enough of those to fill several lifetimes.

I look at my planet and I see hundreds of different countries, each with its unique language, culture, traditions. I go to a library and I have access to the lives and ideas of people who were admired long before I was born, and will continue to be admired long after I die. I meet different people everyday, and each person is like a miniature universe full of secrets and mysteries. I look at nature and see so much beauty and perfection in every single creature, so much to wonder about. And finally, I look at myself, my own mind, and find it an amazing treasure full of hidden riches waiting to be discovered, if only I knew how to get to them.

So, given how fascinating the world in front of our eyes and within the reach of our arms is, I cannot understand why someone would bother with things beyond their ability to see, touch, or understand. And in that sense, fascination with science is even more puzzling to me than fascination with sports.

That's all I can say about the subject. Hope I have not offended you, I'm just being honest.

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