Monday, 23 August 2010

On Science

DISCLAIMER: Abandon hope all ye who continue, for what follows is sure to be complete gibberish.

I can't sleep. During my week off I would happily have nodded off at ten o'clock every night. Now that I have to start getting up early again, I've been hit with a bout of insomnia. Like Faithless, I can't get no sleep.

So, rather than allow itself to fall into sleep's sweet embrace, my mind has been racing, darting from one bizarre thought to the next. For a while, I tried translating random sentences into French and Italian, then stopped in case the family began to worry about the multilingual [and in all likelihood grammatically incorrect] whisperings emanating from their firstborn's dark bedroom. Instead, I opened the curtains and looked out at the sky. At first I could only see three stars, but, when after staring at one for a while, more emerged from the darkness until there were...more. Loads of the little blighters, all twinkling away, sometimes visible, sometimes not.

At times like this [and by 'this' I mean past my bedtime and incapable of any logical thought] I think we know too much. There was a time when stars were there to be wished upon, to navigate by and to predict the future for us. They were dot-to-dot depictions of famous heroes and monsters. Stories written across the sky. They were 'the heavens'. Nowadays, they're giant balls of gas. Lovely. Where's the romance in that? Where's the mystery? I'm concerned, you see, that science is sucking the fun out of the world around us when to be honest I'd settle for the Lion King Theory on Astronomy [which states, if I remember correctly, that stars are dead lions in the sky]. Even that's better than a gasball, a celestial fart.

And it doesn't stop at the stars, which I seem to be somewhat obsessed with lately. Mankind has always tried to make sense of things that seemed beyond understanding. The Ancient Greeks explained the seasons with a story involving a kidnapping, a mother's heartache and a glimmer of hope at the end. Thunder in Scandinavia was the crash of Thor's hammer, and Northern Ireland's Giant's Causeway was a bridge to Scotland for, well, giants. Now it's an interesting volcanic rock formation. The actual science behind all of these things seems sterile in comparison to colourful, emotive myths and legends. It's a bit like opening a really nicely wrapped present to find something really quite dull inside.

But I suppose that's because I don't have a scientific mind. I really don't. I don't think I'm bright enough and I'm definitely too easily distracted. I'm sure those that are lucky enough to possess an interest in the real world think I'm being ridiculous - which is completely right, I am ridiculous. Science is an amazing thing; it has worked miracles, saved countless lives and even enabled me to bore you all with this post. It just doesn't seem as much fun to my childish, easily-confused little mind. So scientists, you intelligent and rational folk you, please accept my thanks for all your hard graft. I'll continue to enjoy the benefits you bring, but please don't be offended if I still refuse to walk under ladders, occasionally read my horoscope and secretly believe that fairies live at the end of my garden.


  1. Fairies do live at the end of the garden.

    And celestial farts or not, I'd much rather believe the Lions in the Sky version. That and wishing on dandelions makes things come true.

    I love you, Science..but you break my imagination sometimes.

  2. Yay for insomnia! I am experiencing it right now on the other side of the world haha. And now that you mention it, science sure does suck the fun out of a lot of things.
    At least I now know that I'm not the only one who secretly believes in garden fairies. :D

  3. Yeah, i agree. Science is a killer of our imagination.

    Here, people used to joke around that whenever there is thunder, it means St.Peter is busy playing bowling in heavens. How's that? Hahaha!

    Glad to know you believe in fairies.

  4. Well, I'm glad we stopped burning witches nonetheless. But yes, the romance is gone...

  5. Hahahaha, celestial fart. I'd comment more, but I'm cracking up.

  6. I don't even know if it's just science as much as it is the evolution of mankind. Or even growing up.

    When I was young, I remember all forests, no matter how big or small, were so magical to me. I knew there were faries in there; and my uncles used to tell the most fantastic stories about the ones that inhabited each different forest.

    When I got older and my parents told me to grow up, it lost it's magic.

    The stars however, despite the scientific facts, have not lost their magic for me. But I think thats because the story behind my favourite constellation, Casiopeia, keeps that alive for me.

  7. The beauty in our world is that there is a place for both romantics and scientists. Keep your imagination alive! There aren't enough romantics to go around.

  8. @ Risha - exactly. It breaks one's imagination. And I completely forgot about dandelions - probably because science pushed it out my tiny little brain and installed a keyboard shortcut in its place.

    @ Lauren - I bet you come up with some weird and wonderful things during your insomnia. This was quite unusual for me. I'm normally quite a boring insomniac.

    @ Mish - that's a good one! Bowling in heaven is more exciting than whatever thunder actually is.

    @ Alexandra - ok, so science has its uses, you're right. We shouldn't burn witches. Maybe I expect too much, I want to have my cake and eat it too!

    @ Leaveaspaceblank - I was quite proud of that bit, thanks!

    @ Ambiguous Geek - That could be it - I'm clinging to my lost youth. I want to be Peter Pan... Your point about the stories behind the constellations is true too, that does keep some of the fun alive.

    @ RC - too true - if everyone was a scientist the world would be boring. If everyone was a romantic it would be absolutely bloody unbearable. However, I'll never be a scientist as long as I live, as much as I respect them.