Saturday, March 22, 2008

The Joy of the Merely Real

The joy of the real world:
"For what sin are rainbows demoted to the dull catalogue of common things? For the sin of having a scientific explanation. 'We know her woof, her texture', says Keats - an interesting use of the word 'we', because I suspect that Keats didn't know the explanation himself. I suspect that just being told that someone else knew was too much for him to take. I suspect that just the notion of rainbows being scientifically explicable in principle would have been too much to take. And if Keats didn't think like that, well, I know plenty of people who do.

I have already remarked that nothing is inherently mysterious - nothing that actually exists, that is. If I am ignorant about a phenomenon, that is a fact about my state of mind, not a fact about the phenomenon; to worship a phenomenon because it seems so wonderfully mysterious, is to worship your own ignorance; a blank map does not correspond to a blank territory, it is just somewhere we haven't visited yet, etc. etc..."
The closing line is priceless.
You might say that scientists - at least some scientists - are those folk who are in principle capable of enjoying life in the real universe.


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