A while back I picked a book up for my daughter. Although she’s still way too young for it, I thought it would be a good book for her to have when she got old enough, and curious enough. The book is The Magic of Reality by
Stephen Richard Dawkins (beautifully illustrated by Dave McKean). I got her this book for the same reason that Santa brought us a telescope for Christmas, I want her to grow up with a sense of the magic and beauty of the world around her, and in awe and wonder of the skies above her. I also want her to grow up with a definite appreciation of how thinking and reason can reveal things that are even more awesome, magical, beautiful, and wonderful.
For a small child, maintaining that sense of wonder is pretty easy; there’s still a sense of novelty to everything they experience. For us, on the other hand, its much more difficult. We fall into the rut of our own lives and seldom seek out experiences that remind us of what a fascinating universe we live in. This past year, thankfully, its been harder than usual to ignore, with news of super-luminal neutrinos that defy the laws of modern physics and the discovery (maybe) of the “God” particle. But in case you need a little more reminding, here’s a video of a conversation between two great minds, Richard Dawkins, evolutionary biologist and skeptic, and Neil deGrasse Tyson, astrophysicist, talking about the “Poetry of Science.”
I know this video is a bit on the long side, but I highly recommend giving, at least a bit of it, a watch. It is a true pleasure to see these two incredibly intelligent men speak of science and the understanding of our universe, our world, and ourselves, so beautifully.
Like standing in front of an impressively designed building, or reading the words of a great writer, listening to Dawkins and Tyson should serve as a reminder of what we, as human beings can be capable of. Although it may sometimes seem that we are wasting away in front of reality television, listening in on this conversation should remind us that all is nowhere near lost. There are still some of us out here thinking our way through life.
Not to mention that, as one of the video commenters stated, this really is “comfort food for the brain.”