Monday, January 19, 2009

A Brief Dose of Hopeful Thinking

I've got to buy my own copy of Cosmos. I love that series more than is strictly healthy, and I totally wish I had a telescope--yeah, and a solid understanding of basic physics with which to appreciate the things I see, even on this Little Blue Rock. But I struggle with the concept of the periodic table of elements, let alone anything harder than that.

Meh, it's mostly mental laziness and lack of application on my part--and possibly lack of imagination on the part of my highschool science teacher.

I'm trying to look at it like this: I can't learn to fly by flapping my arms. I can't learn how to live backwards in time. I can't learn how to transfigure my body into a wooden chair.

I can learn to understand physics. And algebra. And quantum mechanics and String Theory and the plot of Solaris--anything any other person on this planet can learn. It may be a tough pill to swallow, but swallow I will. It may be a long time going down, but go down it will.

(Notice how many dirty jokes I could, but don't make about that last couple of sentences? A sign of how good my veneer of fake maturity is getting.)

I want to understand--not just know, but really understand, gut-deep, how everything works. I wanna read everything Carl Sagan's ever written, because he had the most accessible, cool personal style, and it comes across just as well in print as it does on screen.

I would like to learn to see everything through a scientist's eyes, because everything is science.

And, to quote one of my favorite science guys: "Science rules."

"If wishes was horses, we'd all be eatin' steak."--Jayne Cobb


  1. Science does rule. Wish I could make your thirst for scientific factual knowledge contagious. I can't imagine anything better that could happen to our species than to fall in love with facts, not spiritual fantasy.
    Thank you, and do continue to read and love science..please!

  2. Wow--thank you, lol, for reading.

    I used to want to be a scientist when I was a kid. A paleontologist. But as I got older, my edge in math and science disappeared and I stuck with the things I was still good at, that still came easily. Art and writing, and to a slightly lesser extent history. I backed down from the kind of challenge that makes life zing and I'm only now starting to regret it. But at least I found that curiosity again. It was a near thing, and I didn't realize how two dimensional my life was without the kind of wonder that makes kids and scientists look at something and ask: "How does that work?"

    Hee, I couldn't stop reading now if I tried. Not until I know the how and why of everything :)

  3. I've read more science in the past year than I had in the whole of my life previously. I guess I'm fortunate to live in an age when so many good scientists are also good communicators.

  4. You said it--for me, Dawkins was the first, and since then, I've had the good fortune of either getting referred to, or stumbling across accessible books on science. I didn't even know such a thing existed, a year ago :D