perfect for our kind of life, bounteous 
earth, kindred to what our senses feast upon, will at
the end and most kindly, feast upon our rumpled flesh

 From: merudanda <>
Sent: Friday, June 21, 2013 3:50 PM
Subject: [FairfieldLife] Re: Le Creme de la Creme 
subtitled "Science, Delusion and the Appetite for Wonder"
He starts  with John Keats' well-known, light-hearted accusation that Isaac 
Newton (it was Theodoric of Freiberg who discovered rainbows were prismatic) 
destroyed the poetry of the rainbow by reducing it to the prismatic colors. And 
then  shows the reader that science,  not be feared as a sort of cosmological 
wet blanket ,does not destroy, but rather discovers poetry in the patterns of 

"[I]sn't it sad to go to your grave without ever wondering why you were born? 
Who, with such a thought, would not spring from bed, eager to resume 
discovering the world and rejoicing to be part of it?" 

Beautiful his opening lines a kind of rise above anaesthetic of familiarity:
"We are going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones. Most people are never 
going to die because they are never going to be born. The potential people who 
could have been here in my place but who will in fact never see the light of 
day outnumber the sand grains of Arabia. Certainly those unborn ghosts include 
greater poets than Keats, scientists greater than Newton. We know this because 
the set of possible people allowed by our DNA so massively exceeds the set of 
actual people. In the teeth of these stupefying odds it is you and I, in our 
ordinariness, that are here.We privileged few, who won the lottery of birth 
against all odds, how dare we whine at our inevitable return to that prior 
state from which the vast majority have never stirred?
After sleeping through a hundred million centuries we have finally opened our 
eyes on a sumptuous planet, sparkling with colour, bountiful with life. Within 
decades we must close our eyes
 again. Isn't it a noble, an enlightened way of spending our brief time in the 
sun, to work at understanding the universe and how we have come to wake up in 
it? This is how I answer when I am asked -- as I am surprisingly often -- why I 
bother to get up in the mornings. To put it the other way round, isn't it sad 
to go to your grave without ever wondering why you were born? Who, with such a 
thought, would not spring from bed, eager to resume discovering the world and 
rejoicing to be a part of it?" 

"There is an anaesthetic of familiarity, a sedative of ordinariness which dulls 
the senses and hides the wonder of existence. For those of us not gifted in 
poetry, it is at least worth while from time to time making an effort to shake 
off the anaesthetic. What is the best way of countering the sluggish 
habituation brought about by our gradual crawl from babyhood? We can't actually 
fly to another planet. But we can recapture that sense of having just
 tumbled out to life on a new world by looking at our own world in unfamiliar 

"The feeling of awed wonder that science can give us is one of the highest 
experiences of which the human psyche is capable. It is a deep aesthetic 
passion to rank with the finest that music and poetry can deliver. It is truly 
one of the things that make life worth living and it does so, if anything, more 
effectively if it convinces us that the time we have for living is quite 
"The adult world may seem a cold and empty place, with no fairies and no Father 
Christmas, no Toyland or Narnia, no Happy Hunting Ground where mourned pets go, 
and no angels - guardian or garden variety. But there are also no devils, no 
hellfire, no wicked witches, no ghosts, no haunted houses, no daemonic 
possession, no bogeymen or ogres. Yes, Teddy and Dolly turn out not to be 
really alive. But there are warm, live, speaking, thinking, adult bedfellows to 
hold, and many
 of us find it a more rewarding kind of love than the childish affection for 
stuffed toys, however soft and cuddly they may be." 
> --- In, Share Long sharelong60@ wrote:
> >
> > salyavin, I like weird ideas too. Even better, something you said once, 
> > about the truth being even more wondrous than fiction or scifi or something 
> > like that. What's a good example? Well even just bird migration is pretty 
> > amazing. Or how they fly in formation. So right, no need to know about 
> > faeries to find the garden beautiful. But knowing how different flowers 
> > bloom at just the right time to get just the right amount of sun and 
> > moisture they need--now that is something that can make the garden look 
> > even more beautiful, IMHO (-:
> Indeed. Animal migration is amazing. and the Monarch buttefly that flies from 
> Mexico to somewhere in north America, but it takes so
> long they stop and
 breed, then die and their offspring continue
> the journey. Or the animals in Africa that have been doing the
> same route for so long the follow a path that isn't straight
> because the continenents have shifted, or is it that there have
> been earthquakes or an ice age? Can't remember offhand....
> If you dig the world of nature I recommend a Richard Dawkins book
> like The Ancestors Tale or The Greatest Show On Earth, or *any* of
> his non-religious natural history books, he really is one of the
> best communicators of this stuff ever and his books are always full
> of astounding factoids about nature.
> Actually his book Unweaving The Rainbow should be read by a lot of
> people here because he reveals what's really amazing about crystals
> etc, and how much superior reality is compared to the tedious new 
> age myths that develop round things.
> Would find a link to a review or two but my computer is overheating
> and needs to be repaired before my fingernails melt!


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