Inject the Scientific Esthetic with a Divine Symphony
by Lincoln Cannon on 27 February 2010 (updated 06 October 2016)
Some of us perceive science as dry, boring, aloof, impersonal, elite, callous and perhaps disturbing, confusing or even stifling. This is an esthetic problem – a spiritual problem. The consequences include unnecessary and ineffective forms of communal division and relational stress, slowed progress in knowledge and its application, and increased risks to our long term survival.
Attempting to counter the problem, science popularizers such as Carl Sagan and Richard Dawkins have worked to express the human side of science, appealing to our sense of beauty, mystery, opportunity, connectedness and meaning. Their attempt is illustrated in the music videos, linked below, which are together titled “Symphony of Science”.
I have mixed feelings about the music. Some will hate it; others will enjoy it to varying extents. However, the more important point of these music videos is the illustration of the effort to inject the scientific esthetic with something more moving, more deeply human, that resonates and inspires us with greater awe and reverence for the scientific endeavor as a communally objective approach to knowledge and truth.
The effort, in my estimation, is nothing short of a moral imperative. It is a demonstration of willingness toward unity in common understanding. Holding others’ experience in equal esteem with our own, it is epistemic compassion, charity and atonement. We have much farther to go in the effort. Injecting the scientific esthetic with greater humanity is a good start, but not a good stop. We are not complete. We are gods in embryo, and our growth depends on recognizing the divinity in our shared quest for knowledge.