"If the world shoud break and fall on him, it would strike him fearless."
- The Roman Poet Horace
The African Leopard is an animal that can thrive alone in the darkest night in Africa.
“Pulvis et umbra sumus. (We are but dust and shadow.)”
“Happy the man, and happy he alone,
he who can call today his own:
he who, secure within, can say,
Tomorrow do thy worst, for I have lived today.
Be fair or foul, or rain or shine
the joys I have possessed, in spite of fate, are mine.
Not Heaven itself, upon the past has power,
but what has been, has been, and I have had my hour.”
A baby Warthog faces an Adult Lioness in a defensive stance.
"[I]f history and science have taught us anything, it is that passion and desire are not the same as truth. The human mind evolved to believe in the gods. It did not evolve to believe in biology. Acceptance of the supernatural conveyed a great advantage throughout prehistory, when the brain was evolving. Thus it is in sharp contrast to biology, which was developed as a product of the modern age and is not underwritten by genetic algorithms. The uncomfortable truth is that the two beliefs are not factually compatible. As a result those who hunger for both intellectual and religious truth will never acquire both in full measure.
The brain and its satellite glands have now been probed to the point where no particular site remains that can reasonably be supposed to harbor a nonphysical mind. "
Edward O. Wilson, Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge
"History includes too much chaos, or extremely sensitive dependence on minute and unmeasurable differences in initial conditions, leading to massively divergent outcomes based on tiny and unknowable disparities in starting points. And history includes too much contingency, or shaping of present results by long chains of unpredictable antecedent states, rather than immediate determination by timeless laws of nature.
Homo Sapiens did not appear on the earth, just a geologic second ago, because evolutionary theory predicts such an outcome based on themes of progress and increasing neural complexity. Humans arose, rather, as a fortuitous and contingent outcome of thousands of linked events, any one of which could have occurred differently and sent history on an alternative pathway that would not have led to consciousness."
Stephen Jay Gould
"History is a child building a sand-castle by the sea, and that child is the whole majesty of man’s power in the world. "
"Let death find us as we are building up our matchstick protests against its waves."
Alain de Botton
Something that is fundamental to this existence, to this Universe, is that everything falls apart, is fragile, finite, vulnerable, and passing away. The fragility of this "glass existence" is something known to humans but it is at the same time a vague fog in our consciousness. Awareness of this comes and goes. The model of the "Bundle Theory" points to the fact that our ego our "self" is made up of a variety of connected parts in our neurology and physiology. There is no fixed you. It is an assembly of parts and connections that are in this moment coming together to be what you think you are but it is balanced on a precarious bundle of strings that can unravel by too much force, drugs, or disease. The self is a sand castle that will not last the incoming tide of time and entropy. The sand will be carried away to the sea and continue but the sand castle no longer exists as it was bundled together.
"I think that we reject the evidence that our world is changing because we are still, as that wonderfully wise biologist E.O. Wilson reminded us, tribal carnivores. We are programmed by our inheritance to see other living things as mainly something to eat, and we care more about our national tribe than anything else. We will even give our lives for it and are quite ready to kill other humans in the cruelest of ways for the good of our tribe. We still find alien the concept that we and the rest of life, from bacteria to whales, are parts of the much larger and diverse entity, the living Earth."
Ernest Becker, the Pulitzer Prize winning author, wrote, "The last thing man can admit to himself is that his life-ways are arbitrary: this is one of the reasons that people often show derisive glee and scorn over the 'strange' customs of other lands—it is a defense against the awareness that his own way of life may be just as fundamentally contrived as any other. One culture is always a potential menace to another because it is a living example that life can go on heroically without a value framework totally alien to one's own."
“What passes for hip cynical transcendence of sentiment is really some kind of fear of being really human, since to be really human [...] is probably to be unavoidably sentimental and naïve and goo-prone and generally pathetic.”
― David Foster Wallace
, Infinite Jest "Postmodern irony and cynicism's become an end in itself, a measure of hip sophistication and literary savvy. Few artists dare to try to talk about ways of working toward redeeming what's wrong, because they'll look sentimental and naive to all the weary ironists. Irony's gone from liberating to enslaving. There's some great essay somewhere that has a line about irony being the song of the prisoner who's come to love his cage… The postmodern founders' patricidal work was great, but patricide produces orphans, and no amount of revelry can make up for the fact that writers my age have been literary orphans throughout our formative years."
“There's good self-consciousness, and then there's toxic, paralyzing, raped-by-psychic-Bedouins self-consciousness.”
“The next real literary “rebels” in this country might well emerge as some weird bunch of anti-rebels, born oglers who dare somehow to back away from ironic watching, who have the childish gall actually to endorse and instantiate single-entendre principles. Who treat of plain old untrendy human troubles and emotions in U.S. life with reverence and conviction. Who eschew self-consciousness and hip fatigue. These anti-rebels would be outdated, of course, before they even started. Dead on the page. Too sincere. Clearly repressed. Backward, quaint, naive, anachronistic. Maybe that’ll be the point. Maybe that’s why they’ll be the next real rebels. Real rebels, as far as I can see, risk disapproval. The old postmodern insurgents risked the gasp and squeal: shock, disgust, outrage, censorship, accusations of socialism, anarchism, nihilism. Today’s risks are different. The new rebels might be artists willing to risk the yawn, the rolled eyes, the cool smile, the nudged ribs, the parody of gifted ironists, the “Oh how banal.” To risk accusations of sentimentality, melodrama. Of overcredulity. Of softness. Of willingness to be suckered by a world of lurkers and starers who fear gaze and ridicule above imprisonment without law. Who knows. ”
"Telling a story is one of the most persuasive means of communication...How we persuade is how we deliver and tell our story to the jury. Storytelling is the most basic means of communication."
Gerry Spence, renowned Trial Attorney
It is important to connect the A B C’s (Astronomy, Biology, Cosmology) of science because it is possible to create more interest in science and give more humans a greater perspective of life on Earth and how our connections to life and each other are both deep and consequential. The Grand story of life in the Universe is a story that unites us and is greater than any smaller story of religion, culture or nation that divides the human species. As Sir Martin Rees stated Science is the truly Global Culture. It is compartmentalization and not connecting the dots that keeps even educated adults ignorant of the evolutionary history of life.
Education in America is only a means to a job and lacks vitality and innovation to be a force for wisdom and understanding. The possible benefits early interdisciplinary Science:
More scientific interest and innovation and greater awareness of what unites humans is an important meme for human society.
Physicist Murray Gell-Mann:
“We live in an age of increasing specialization…Humanity keeps learning more about each field of study; and as every specialty grows, it tends to split into subspecialties. However, there is also a growing need for specialization to be supplemented by integration. The reason is that no complex, nonlinear system can be adequately described by dividing it up into subsystems…In academic life, in bureaucracies, and elsewhere, the task of integration is insufficiently respected.”