A few days ago I started reading A Brief History of Time and on the first page of this book, Stephen Hawking refers to a time where someone (Bertrand Russell) is giving an astronomy lecture and a little old woman stands up and explains that the universe is really built on the back of a turtle. It’s a well-known and awesome anecdote and when researching it further, I noticed that various discussions and creative projects had been started by its inclusion in the book and it gave me inspiration to start a few projects of my own which will be coming soon.
Over the last few months I’ve continued reading books in the area of physics. Some of these are really fantastic and I’d like to share them here again:
- Why Does E=mc²? (And Why Should We Care?) by Brian Cox
- The Particle at the End of the World: How the Hunt for the Higgs Boson Leads Us to the Edge of a New World by Sean Carroll
- The Universe Within: From Quantum to Cosmos by Neil Turok
I love these books because they tell us more about the universe and existence. Every now and then I have the dreaded ‘I’m back in high school’ dream and each and every time, I am taking more science classes. Science was probably the furthest thing from my mind in high school but as I’ve grown I’ve come to appreciate how different kinds of thinking are linked together in all kinds of ways.
As a teenager, I cared a lot about understanding things and wishing the world was a fair and just place. I read a lot of Naomi Klein and I cared about manufacturing consent and as a younger adult, I spent time trying to create experiences for myself where I felt like I could be apart of something that was standing up to the whole notion of ultra consumerism and consumption. Ahh, I am grateful for so much and having a curious mind is no exception. There is something about pursuing and acquiring knowledge that helps you put things in perspective – that helps you let go of painful things so that you can focus on matters that are about more than just you (not that I think it’s bad to focus on yourself – individual health and wellness is critically important). But I also think that having care and love for others is hugely important as well and adds a whole other value to our lives. I guess I am saying this because of how many crazy things can happen in a just a week – let’s recap this last one for instance: the Pope resigned, the Vatican was struck by lightning, and a meteor passed through the atmosphere and exploded. (The pictures of this blog are not nearly as cool as the meteor lights in the sky - but I was fond of them, so I threw them in here).
And amidst all of this people were really keen to celebrate their affection for one another on Valentine’s Day – a commercial holiday if there ever was one and one that is treasured and scorned in equal measure. But even though it’s commercial – I loved watching people spend time thinking about how to show someone else that they cared – even if this didn’t end up meaning a card, or chocolate, or presents, or flowers. It really doesn’t end up being about the things after all, but about what they signify. An expression of happiness that someone is a part of your world - that they exist. It seems that more and more, we are shifting how we show we care.
In high school, I was all about arts and expression and I realize that I am still very much this person. But one of the things I like now is how much better I can see the creativity in science. In high school – I certainly believed that science was inspired by art, that they weren’t contradictory disciplines - I just didn’t really have all the means to connect them or I thought that connecting them was a thing you did or a destination you reached. I realize now that I probably won’t ever connect them all neatly or finitely. What I’ll get instead is an ongoing sense of awe and wonder about the myriad of connections that are possible. It’s similar in many ways to what comes from trying to live and honour the Treaties.
I like it. In fact, I adore it, because it makes me want to do things for this world to show that I care - one of my favourites is picking up garbage (mostly because it's simple and it's something I can do often that gets me outside) - or taking quick baths instead of showers and turning off my car while I'm idling. These aren't groundbreaking activities by any means but they're some of the little things that I hope add up with everyone else's. Anyways, these were just some thoughts I was having over the last few days. Time to go read and write some more!
And Happy Valentine’s Day Universe – which is just to say – I think you’re really cool and I’m glad you are here, mysteries and all. Check out some fun valentines from the Perimeter Institute.