Science is interesting to me for a few reasons. I like that it asks questions and that it seeks to understand how the universe works. I like that it creates equations to simplify these rules or patterns and I like that those equations can work together to express big ideas and share vast amounts of experience and investigation.
Today CERN, the European Centre for Particle Physics, announced that they had observed a new particle (the Higgs Boson) that is thought to be the missing piece in helping to understand the origin of mass. This is definitely something that I find cool and I’m certain when I get thinking about what it means, I’ll have a whole new batch of questions and inquiries to pursue and articles to read. Here's a cool video explanation...
But for now – this news is causing me to reflect happily on our Creation stories, myths and legends - all of our oral traditions really. They share a straightforward yet poignant way of looking at the universe and of documenting our interactions with it. Over the last few decades the relationship between indigenous knowledges and the sciences has continued to evolve. David Suzuki is one example of a scientist who values our ways of knowing. It is always great to participate in good, open and collaborative dialogue. I appreciate how our stories work together and how they can collaborate and participate in other discussions, like the ones that occur in science. It’s incredibly empowering actually.
And so today’s news and press conference made me think back to a conversation that I had with my friends a few nights ago. A couple of them are taking a course in information technology. The first two weeks of the course - were cultural. I must say that my friends are incredibly astute and interesting. They make me feel like a boring thinker at times because their observations blow my mind on a regular basis - which is awesome.
They had to retell legends in their class and what the morale of that story was. Though they did not necessarily like making the presentations – the discussion we had about the legends and the morals was one I personally got a lot from. My one friend shared the story she had told in their class - about these people going to hunt and finding sea serpents – one that was gold and one that was black. The sea serpents glowed like eels. The hunters brought them home and they cared for them. Then one day the serpents grew and grew and grew. And their growth led to the end of the world. (This is me paraphrasing enormously).
We talked about the story and the morale of it. My one friend suggested it was about not bringing home stray animals, because they may be wild, perhaps untameable or not meant to be tamed and we cannot make assumptions about it being a pet - we can’t really know what will happen. Another friend followed this up by offering that the morale of the story was that nature ought to be left alone and not exploited.
When I consider the amount of resource development and harmful extraction that is undertaken on a regular basis across Turtle Island – I cannot help but echo these sentiments. Just as equations hold troves of information – our stories are meant to provide and share our own findings – whether we have had to put them through a rigorous experimentation process or not. We share them because we believe there is a reason why our elders made an effort to pass them on. Sharing them is both an exercise in critical thinking and community growth – and though I’m sure it’s just one exercise of many that can be essential to the lasting health of our peoples and the health of our relationships, it’s definitely one of my favourites.
There are all kinds of links/articles to share that made me think of these things and here are a couple of them. I also just finished reading why does e=mc2? (and why should we care?) and found it to be a pretty good source of information to help understand what all the excitement was about.
CERN Press Release:
National Geographic Article:
I should mention that the point I liked in the National Geographic article (which is actually about languages) is towards the end when referring to different discussions between the Seri peoples and scientists.